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National data guardian role becomes statutory


The role of the national data guardian (NDG) for health and social care has been given statutory responsibility for data security in the sector.

The Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) has confirmed that relevant public bodies and service providers will now have to take note of guidance to emerge from the office.

It follows the passing of the relevant legislation in December, and means the NDG will be able to issue official guidance about the processing of health and adult social care data. Any organisation that processes the relevant data – including those in the NHS, local authorities, charities and private companies – will be required to show due regard to its detail.

Dame Fiona Caldicott (pictured) has been in the position since it was created, initially for the NHS, in 2014. She said: “The placing of the national data guardian role on a statutory footing sends an important signal that there is an independent champion for patients and the public in relation to how health and adult social care data is used.”

Health Minister Nicola Blackwood said the move strengthens the role as an independent and authoritative voice for the patient on how their data is used in the health and care system.

“It is right that patients are confident they have a strong champion not only to advise them but also to challenge the system and ensure that confidential information is safeguarded and used appropriately,” she said.

Image from GOV.UK, Open Government Licence v3.0

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