Caldicott Principles in Health and Social Care: What are they?

The Caldicott Principles are a set of ethical guidelines for handling patient data in the UK’s National Health Service (NHS). They were first developed in 1997 by Dame Fiona Caldicott, then the NHS’s Chief Medical Officer, in response to concerns about the use of patient data.

The principles are designed to strike a balance between protecting patient privacy and ensuring that information is used effectively to improve patient care. There are six Caldicott Principles:

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- Principle 1: Justify the need for confidential information
- Principle 2: Do not use confidential information unless it is essential
- Principle 3: Use the minimum necessary confidential information
- Principle 4: Access to confidential information should be on a “need-to-know” basis
- Principle 5: Ensure that everyone who has access to confidential information understands their responsibilities
- Principle 6: Review and audit the use of confidential information locally and regularly.

The Caldicott Principles are relevant to all health and social care professionals who work with patient data. In recent years, they have been updated to reflect the changing nature of healthcare, including the increasing use of technology. The latest update was published in 2013, and is known as the 2013 Caldicott Report.

Ryan Reynolds

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