The requirement for NHS organisations to appoint Caldicott guardians of patient information is a product of the government's commitment to implementing the recommendations of the Caldicott committee's report on the review of patient identifiable information, published in 1997 and the confidentiality, NHS code of practice (DOH November 2003).
- HSC 1999/012 Caldicott guardians was issued in January 1999 for action by chief executives of all health authorities, special health authorities, NHS trusts and primary care trusts detailing the action to be taken in appointing Caldicott guardians and the role that Caldicott guardians should undertaken, these being primarily to:
- be responsible for agreeing and reviewing internal protocols governing the protection and use of patient identifiable information by the staff of their organisation
- be responsible for agreeing and reviewing protocols governing the disclosure of patient identifiable information across organisational boundaries e.g. with social services and other partner organisations contributing to the local provision of care
- have a strategic role, developing security policy, representing confidentiality requirements and issues at board level, advising on annual improvement plans and agreeing and presenting annual outcome reports
- ensure that their organisations are aware of the six Caldicott principles for keeping patient identifiable information safe
These are as follows:
- Justify the purpose
- Do not use patient identifiable information unless it is absolutely necessary
- Use the minimum necessary patient identifiable information
- Access should be restricted on a strict need to know basis
- Everyone should be aware of their responsibilities
- Understand and comply with the law
The Caldicott guardian for the Medway NHS Foundation Trust is the Medical Director, telephone number 01634 830000 ext 3030.