Dr. Nicola Byrne is appointed as the new National Data Guardian for Health and Social Care in England

Dr. Nicole Byrne follows in the footsteps of the late Dame Fiona Caldicott, to become England’s new National Data Guardian for Health and Social Care.

Dr. Byrne wrote an introductory blog titled, ‘Listening and building trust: starting as I mean to go on’, which highlights her past experience and her plans for the future of the role.

In her blog, she states, “I take seriously the role that the National Data Guardian should play in supporting and influencing the safe, confidential and effective use of citizens’ health and care data.

“In doing so, I’m keen to support data use to both improve the treatment and care of individuals now, and to advance innovation in illness prevention, treatment, and service planning for shared public benefit in future.”

She continued, “We need only look to the last year we’ve all lived through to see evidence on a global scale of how essential the effective use of data has been to the world’s response to the pandemic.

“Data has provided invaluable insights into questions such as where and how the disease is spreading, who is most vulnerable, how we can best protect ourselves and our loved ones, and what treatments are and are not effective. Using these insights to inform critical decision making has undoubtedly saved lives.”

Dr. Byrne will continue her work as psychiatrist within adult mental care alongside her new role.

She also spoke of Dame Fiona Caldicott, “Dame Fiona worked with an unwavering commitment for many years to safeguard public trust and advocate for the responsible, transparent use of health and care data.

“I intend to honour her legacy by building upon the enduring foundations she laid. We share a belief that there should be ‘no surprises’ for the public when it comes to their data: a belief that will guide me as I build upon the long-standing NDG priorities.

“Because without trust, and the dialogue and transparency that builds trust, we will not earn the public’s support for initiatives that seek to improve health and care using data.”

Conversations about health data storage and usage have been at the forefront of many of our recent panel discussions with mentions of the #datasaveslives campaign.

Read Dr. Byrne’s full introductory blog post here.

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