New plans for protection of patient data within NHS

It has been announced that the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) has been tasked with creating a new system for protecting patient data in the form of a health and social care security programme.

The brief came from the Government’s Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, who wants to be sure that patient confidentiality is paramount throughout the health service including “all care settings, commissioning organisations and the staff that work in them”. The HSCIC has stated that the aim of these proposals is to ensure that all of those working within the health service are aware of the importance of patient confidentiality and adhere to the regulations.

The plans for the programme are still being developed, however they will cover the following areas: all health and social care organisations must make regular reports publically on their performance; data security and information governance requirements must be met by working with the Care Quality Commission (CQC); access to the best services and resources for health and social care organisations must be permitted; a programme of independent audit run by the HSCIC will be set up; and finally a national security strategy will be created to make sure high quality care is being provided to all patients.

The HSCIC has stated that it is going to be working with a number of different organisations within the health service as well as CQC, including NHS England, NHS Trust Development Authority, and Monitor (NHSTDA). There are also plans to consult with several government organisations including the Cabinet Office and GCHQ.

It is expected that the HSCIC will be announcing more information on this project soon as details are still being confirmed.