In December 1997, the Caldicott Report on the Review of Patient-Identifiable Information identified weaknesses in the way parts of the NHS handled confidential patient-identifiable data.
The Caldicott Report of 1997, HSC 1999/012 relating to patient-identifiable data recommended six Caldicott principles, to apply to the handling of patient-identifiable information, further information can be found in Data Protection:
Patient identifiable information can include:
- NHS Number
- Casenote number
- Date of Birth
- Other dates: e.g. death, diagnosis
- Ethnic Group
One of the report's recommendations was the appointment of Caldicott Guardians, members of staff in the NHS with a responsibility to ensure patient-identifable data is kept secure and used in accordance with the principles in the table below:
(Please note, these principles apply in addition to the requirements of the Data Protection Act 1998)
1. Justify the Purpose(s)
Every proposed use or transfer of patient-identifiable information within or from an organisation should be clearly defined and scrutinised, with continuing uses regularly reviewed by an appropriate guardian.
2. Don't use patient-identifiable information unless it is absolutely necessary
Patient-identifiable information items should not be used unless there is no alternative.
3. Use the minimum necessary patient-identifiable information
Where use of patient-identifiable information is considered to be essential, each individual item of information should be justified with the aim of reducing identifiability.
4. Access to patient-identifiable information should be on a strict need to know basis
Only those individuals who need access to patient-identifiable information should have access to it, and they should only have access to the information items that they need to see.
Research work that proposes to make use of existing patient-identifiable data sets must:
- Follow the principles outlined in the table above
- Have permission from the relevant Caldicott Guardian in the NHS
(information courtesy of Imperial College)
Caldicott Guardians in our associated NHS Trusts:
Coventry Primary Care NHS Trust
Caldicott Guardian: Dr Peter Barker, Consultant in Public Health
Tel: 024 76246024
North Warwickshire Primary Care NHS Trust
Caldicott Guardian: Mr Simon Crews
Rugby Primary Care NHS Trust
Caldicott Guardian: Dr Keith Edgar
Tel: 01788 550860
South Warwickshire Primary Care NHS Trust
Caldicott Guardian: Dr Stephen Munday, Director of Public Health
Tel: 01926 493491 (ext 255)
University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust
Caldicott Guardian: Mr Martin Lee