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UK Government consults on Data Security, Consent and Opt-out

On 6th of July, the National Data Guardian for Health and Care published two reviews on Data Security, Consent and Opt-Outs. The two reviews made certain recommendation to the Department of Health and other Government organisations. As a result, UK Government proposed a public consultation on new security standards for the NHS and Social Care, new methods of testing compliance on these standards and a new opt-out consent model.

The consultation included organisations that interact regularly with public health sector and those research organisations that rely on the access to health data from the NHS.

The two independent reviews are:

  • The Care Quality Commission review of data security in the NHS and
  • National Data Guardian for Health and Care, Dame Fiona Caldiott’s “the Caldicott Report

The Care Quality Commission published a review of data security within the NHS: “Safe data, safe care”. Subsequently after the publication, George Freeman MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Life Sciences, announced a public consultation on Caldicott’s review on new data security standards and proposed consent on the opt-out model. The CQC’s report identified main concerns on senior leadership, behaviours, staff training and support, patient-designed IT systems and CQC’s monitoring remit.

The Caldicott Report’s focussed on preventive measure of different data breaches and discovering an easy and trustful approach to data sharing. On account to patient trust on personal confidential data, the report recognises a need of improvement and further it proposes 10 data security standards mechanisms to be placed to reduce data breaches.

The Caldicott Report admits substantial number of data breaches in the health sector is because of human error. The public still find it hard to understand the data-sharing model. The Caldicott emphases on giving public clearer information on how the personal data can be used and ways to control those information through a new consent/opt-out model.

Moreover, the report proposes the use of anonymised data should not subject to opt-out with a recommendation to stronger authorisations to discourage re-identification of individuals.

The public consultation seeks views on new proposed data security standards and consent/opt-out model in the Caldicott Report. Interested parties should respond before 7th September 2016.

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