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04 April 2020

The Government has published National Data Guardian, Dame Fiona Caldicott's statement on the use of data during the current crisis.

Dame Fiona Caldicott 2019The full text is quite long, but here are a some of extracts that may be of interest to those working in the health and care sector.

"Information sharing must be done differently to support the fight against COVID-19 and to protect citizens compared to ordinary times. Information may need to be shared more quickly and widely across organisations than normal, or different types of information may need to be collected and used...

 

... The National Data-Opt Out has an exemption built in which means that it does not apply when there is an overriding public interest in the use of data, such as there is now. The GDPR has provisions to allow personal data to be used appropriately and lawfully at such a time. The Information Commissioner has clearly announced that data protection concerns should not stand in the way of appropriate information sharing; a statement which I fully endorsed...

 

... It is with gratitude that in the thick of everything I have still heard colleagues cite the importance of protecting confidentiality. Practical steps are also being taken to ensure that trust is not undermined. For example, my panel and I have been pleased this week to support NHSX with the drafting of a template privacy notice, which will be sent out to NHS organisations next week to support them to tell patients and service users about what might be different in the handling of their health and care data during the outbreak. It is heartening to note that even at this unprecedented crisis, trust and confidentiality still matter."