Press release

National Data Guardian 2017 report published

The National Data Guardian (NDG) today publishes a report looking back over Dame Fiona Caldicott's first term of office in the role and to the future

Dame Fiona Caldicott
Dame Fiona Caldicott, National Data Guardian

The National Data Guardian (NDG), today publishes the National Data Guardian for Health and Care 2017 report: Impact and Influence for patients and service users

The publication marks 3 years since Dame Fiona Caldicott was appointed as the first NDG, looks back over this first term of office and describes future priorities. It sets out a clear case for the independent advice and challenge the role provides to ensure that confidential data collected by the NHS and social care services is properly safeguarded and used appropriately to improve care. It also anticipates the NDG role being place on a statutory footing during this Parliament.

The report reinforces the fundamental requirement of building public trust for successful advancements in health and care based on data sharing. The 3 principles that have informed the NDG’s work since she was asked by the Secretary of State for Health to take up the role remain crucial:

  1. To encourage sharing of information in the interests of providing care to individuals.
  2. There should be no surprises to citizens and they should have choice about the use of their data.
  3. There must be dialogue with the public, helping to increase their knowledge and choices about how data is used to improve health and care.

Dame Fiona said: “New technologies and ways of sharing data mean that we can now gain huge benefit from the sharing of health and care data, both in terms of individuals’ own care and the broader social good of advancing research and treatment. However, as NDG I have seen time and again that the most praiseworthy attempts at innovation falter if they lose public trust.

“Those entrusted with looking after and using patient data must demonstrate their right to be trusted by adopting the highest standards of data security and giving people a right to a genuine choice over how data is used. The public must be included in understanding and supporting innovation which relies on data generated by their use of health and care services.”

Published 12 December 2017