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Everyone working for the NHS has a legal duty to keep information held about you confidential and secure.

Information concerning you or your condition can often be of a sensitive nature which you may not wish to be known by others. Staff dealing with information are under obligation by law to make sure it is protected at all times.

The duty of our staff

Giving patients the best care possible can sometimes mean sharing personal information with other sources, for example, other Trust departments or GP practises directly concerned with your treatment. Whenever information is shared, Cambridge University Hospitals staff adhere to strict codes of confidentiality. Staff sign a confidentiality agreement on commencing work within the Trust and receive the appropriate training.

For more information on what happens to your personal information please refer to What happens to information held about you, or pick up a leaflet in the hospital.

The guidelines used to ensure all staff deal with patient information in the strictest confidential manner are known as the Caldicott Principles.

The Caldicott principles

Principle 1 – Justify the purpose(s)

Every time patient-identifiable information is transferred in an organisation it should be clearly defined and scrutinised, and the transfer process should be regularly reviewed by an appropriate guardian.

Principle 2 – Don’t use patient-identifiable information unless it is absolutely necessary

Patient-identifiable information should only be used if there is no other alternative.

Principle 3 – Use the minimum necessary patient-identifiable information.

Every measure should be taken to ensure the use of patient identifiable information is justified by reducing how easily it can be identified.

Principle 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 the information items that they need to see.

Principle 5 – Everyone should be aware of their responsibilities.

Action should be taken to ensure clinical and non-clinical staff who handle patient-identifiable information are aware of their obligations to respect patient confidentiality.

Principle 6 – Understand and comply with the law

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

Caldicott guardian

The Caldicott guardian for Cambridge University Hospitals can be contacted at:

Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Box 153
Addenbrooke's Hospital
Hills Road
Cambridge
CB2 0QQ

Tel: 01223 245151