The National Data Guardian has published her response to the consultation on the Caldicott Principles and the role of Caldicott Guardians. The response and changes to the Caldicott Principles are relevant to anyone considering confidentiality issues in the health or social care context.

The key changes are: 

  • revised wording for Principles 1-7; and
  • a new eighth principle: "Inform patients and service users about how their confidential information is used".

You can download a copy of the revised principles by clicking here, and our view on the initial consultation proposals can be found here.

Under Principle 8, organisations should take a range of steps to ensure there are "no surprises" for patients and service users, and so they have clear expectations about how and why their confidential information is used, as well as the choices they may have about how their information is used. The appropriate steps to take will depend on the circumstances, but as a minimum should include providing accessible, relevant and appropriate information. 

The NDG also plans to issue statutory guidance about Caldicott Guardians in 2021. This will outline the appointment of Caldicott Guardians for all NHS and social care commissioners and providers; the Caldicott Guardian's role and responsibilities, competencies and knowledge, autonomy and training.

We submitted our own response to the NDG consultation and also assisted clients with their responses. For advice on any confidentiality or information law issues, please get in touch.