UK government seeks new healthcare data guardian

The new national data guardian will oversee the collection and use of patient data.
By Sara Mageit
10:50 AM

The Department of Health and Social Care is seeking a new national data guardian (NDG) to advise and challenge the healthcare system on safeguarding patient data.

The data guardian is expected to represent the interests of patients and the public, ensuring people’s confidential information is kept securely and shared appropriately.

The role is offered at £45,000 per annum, working two to three days per week and will be chosen by a panel including NHSX chief Matthew Gould and deputy director of data and information governance policy, Simon Madden.

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WHY IT MATTERS

In 2018, the NDG role was given statutory powers to guide and challenge the health and social care system.

Public bodies including hospitals, care homes and commissioners of services, as well as relevant outsourcers, are expected to take note of the national data guardian’s guidance on data processing.

The NDG can also issue informal guidance about data processing and is responsible for presenting an annual report to the health secretary.

THE LARGER CONTEXT

The successful applicant will replace Dame Fiona Caldicott who was appointed the first national data guardian (NDG) in 2014.

In 2019, she was appointed as the first statutory NDG for health and social care, nearly five years after the role was created.

Caldicott's work includes advising on the use of people's data in the NHS's COVID-19 test, track and trace system. In June, she called for the NHS and social care services to ensure there are “no surprises” for citizens in how their data is used.

ON THE RECORD

The job advert says: “This is a high-profile role which would ideally be filled by someone with knowledge of health and social care organisations and the system, the information governance framework within which they operate and in particular the common law duty of confidentiality, how modern information technology can impact on the privacy of individuals, and public attitudes towards the use of health and care data.”

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