The health and social care system is going to face significant pressures due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Good information governance should enable health and care staff to manage and share information in a way that puts the interests of the people they are caring for and the wider public first. In the current circumstances it could be more harmful not to share health and care information than to share it. The Information Commissioner’s Office has issued a statement and published a Q&A resource to reflect this position and set out their approach to data protection and electronic communications during the COVID-19 outbreak. Health regulators have also published a joint statement.

Staff will need to work in different ways from usual. NHSX have produced advice here that sets out some of the tools you can use to support individual care, share information and communicate with colleagues during this time. This advice is endorsed by the Information Commissioner’s Office, the National Data Guardian and NHS Digital.