The Caldicott Review recommended ways to strengthen security of health and care information, and a new opt-out model to ensure people can make informed choices about how their data is used. The Review was commissioned by the Secretary of State for Health, and we have been waiting for the Government response since publication last July. Unfortunately, as Government enters a pre-election period it is required to observe certain restrictions. As a result, this will delay, yet again, the Government’s response to the Caldicott Review. We hope to see the Government’s response as soon as possible after the election to help keep momentum. The sector needs answers about what an opt-out model will look like, to help rebuild confidence in the governance surrounding uses of patient data.

This week, the revised General Medical Council (GMC) confidentiality guidance came into force. This is ethical guidance for all doctors practising medicine in the UK and aims to provide good practice in handling patient information. The guidance clarifies circumstances of implied consent, sharing information for individual care and public protection responsibilities, and much more. It also provides supporting information for situations that may be harder for doctors to deal with such as disclosing information to the DVLA or reporting gunshot and knife wounds and serious communicable diseases. On a more practical level, the guidance includes resources to help doctors with decision-making as well as case studies.

The National Data Guardian, Fiona Caldicott, welcomed the new guidance.