Churchill bill aims to give health data watchdog legal teeth

Jo Churchill, MP for Bury St Edmunds and Stowmarket
Jo Churchill, MP for Bury St Edmunds and Stowmarket

Bury St Edmunds MP Jo Churchill has put a private member’s bill to Parliament to give the health service dayta watchdog legal teeth.

Mrs Churchill presented the National Data Guardian for Health and Care Bill to the House of Commons for its first reading on Tuesday as a Presentation Bill.

The bill intends to put on a statutory footing the role of the National Data Guardian (NDG), which advises and challenges the health and care system to ensure citizens’ confidential information is safeguarded and used appropriately.

This would give the NDG powers to advise as well as issue formal statutory guidance on the use of health and adult social care data.

Speaking on the bill, Mrs Churchill said: “Plans to deliver powers to the NDG will boost excellent care and the patient experience, for instance, by eliminating the need to repeat one’s medical history.

“The safe, appropriate and effective use of medical data can inform clinical commissioners both locally and nationally about the best use of resources, as well as inform research groups for the development of new medicines and treatments.

“Putting the NDG, the leading patient voice on the use of patient data, on a statutory footing would act as an enabler to progress on the health and care agenda.

“This would be a first step to building trust and ensuring clear governance on patient data which is essential if we are to drive forward patient care, better diagnosis and treatment.”

The Second Reading of the bill is scheduled for Friday December 2.