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The Caldicott Principles

Caldicott Guardians are senior staff in the NHS and appointed by social services to protect patient information. The Caldicott Guardian Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust is the Executive Medical Director.

The Caldicott Principles are:

1. Justify the purpose(s) of using confidential information.

Every proposed use or transfer of patient-identifiable information within or from an organisation should be clearly defined and scrutinised, with continuing uses regularly reviewed by an appropriate guardian.

2. Do not use patient-identifiable information unless it is absolutely necessary.

Patient-identifiable information items should not be included unless it is essential for the specified purpose(s) of that flow. The need for patients to be identified should be considered at each stage of satisfying the purpose(s).

3. Use the minimum necessary patient-identifiable information that is required.

Where use of the patient-identifiable information is considered to be essential, the inclusion of each individual item of information should be considered and justified so that the minimum amount of identifiable information is transferred or accessible as is necessary for a given function to be carried out.

4. Access to patient-identifiable information should be on a strict need-to-know basis.

Only those individuals who need access to patient-identifiable information should have access to it, and they should only have access to the information items that they need to see. This may mean introducing access controls or splitting information flows where one information flow is used for several purposes.

5. Everyone with access to patient-identifiable information should be aware of their responsibilities.

Action should be taken to ensure that those handling patient-identifiable information, both clinical and non-clinical staff, are made fully aware of their responsibilities and obligations to respect patient confidentiality.

6. Understand and comply with the law.

Every use of patient-identifiable information must be lawful. Someone in each organisation handling patient information should be responsible for ensuring that the organisation complies with the legal requirements.

Further information can be found in the Caldicott Guardian Pages on the Department of Health website.