Statement from Steve Wood, Deputy Commissioner (Policy):

“Our investigation found a number of shortcomings in the way patient records were shared for this trial and part of the undertaking committed Royal Free to commission a third party audit. They have now done this and shared the results with the ICO. What’s important now is that they use the findings to address the compliance issues addressed in the audit swiftly and robustly. We’ll be continuing to liaise with them in the coming months to ensure this is happening. 

We cannot endorse a report from a third party audit but we have provided feedback to the Royal Free. We also reserve our position in relation to their position on medical confidentiality and the equitable duty of confidence. We are seeking legal advice on this issue and may require further action.”

“It’s important that other NHS Trusts considering using similar new technologies pay regard to the recommendations we gave to Royal Free, and ensure data protection risks are fully addressed using a Data Protection Impact Assessment before deployment.”