Caldicott Guardians derive their name and inspiration from the Government Review of Patient-Identifiable Information, chaired by Dame Fiona Caldicott, which reported in December 1997. One of its recommendations was that “a senior person, preferably a health professional, should be nominated in each health organisation to act as a guardian, responsible for safeguarding the confidentiality of patient information.”
The Caldicott Guardian for Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is Shirley Higginbotham, Head of Corporate Affairs and Company Secretary.
The Caldicott Guardian has a responsibility to ensure patient-identifiable data is kept secure and used in accordance with the principles below:
i. Justify the purpose for using confidential information
ii. Only use it when absolutely necessary
iii. Use the minimum that is required
iv. Access should be on a strict need to know basis
v. Everyone must understand his or her responsibilities
vi. Understand and comply with the law
vii. The duty to share information can be as important as the duty to protect patient confidentiality
The Caldicott Guardian role is an advisory role although is seen as a pivotal point for handling and protecting patient information across the Trust maintaining the established framework.
The Caldicott Guardian is the ‘conscience’ of the organisation, providing a focal point for patient confidentiality, information sharing issues and advising on the options for lawful and ethical processing of information as required.
Any companies contracting services to the Trust must sign a confidentiality agreement, countersigned by the Caldicott Guardian, to confirm that they have undertaken mandatory IG training, read and understand the organisations Data Protection, Confidentiality and Disclosure Policy and accept their responsibility to maintain confidentiality.