The Caldicott principles
Justify the purpose(s)
Every proposed use or transfer of personal confidential data within or from an organisation should be clearly defined, scrutinised and documented, with continuing uses regularly reviewed, by an appropriate guardian.
Don’t use personal confidential data unless it is absolutely necessary
Personal confidential data 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).
Use the minimum necessary personal confidential data
Where use of personal confidential data is considered to be essential, the inclusion of each individual item of data should be considered and justified so that the minimum amount of personal confidential data is transferred or accessible as is necessary for a given function to be carried out.
Access to personal confidential data should be on a strict need-to-know basis
Only those individuals who need access to personal confidential data should have access to it, and they should only have access to the data items that they need to see. This may mean introducing access controls or splitting data flows where one data flow is used for several purposes.
Everyone with access to personal confidential data should be aware of their responsibilities
Action should be taken to ensure that those handling personal confidential data — both clinical and non-clinical staff — are made fully aware of their responsibilities and obligations to respect patient confidentiality.
Comply with the law
Every use of personal confidential data must be lawful. Someone in each organisation handling personal confidential data should be responsible for ensuring that the organisation complies with legal requirements.
The duty to share information can be as important as the duty to protect patient confidentiality
Health and social care professionals should have the confidence to share information in the best interests of their patients within the framework set out by these principles. They should be supported by the policies of their employers, regulators and professional bodies.