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Claire Hornshaw
Press Office
Tel: 01225 386319

Rob Coward
Educational Projects Manager, NHS Education for Scotland
Tel: 0131 220 8068

Alice Breton
Director, Faculty of Health Informatics, Royal College of Surgeons Edinburgh

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Press Release - 23 October 2006

Launch of the UK's first postgraduate programme in Healthcare Information Governance

A postgraduate course dedicated to helping health service professionals throughout the UK deal with the sensitivities, ethics and security of the information they handle was officially launched at an event in Scotland today (23 October).

The new postgraduate programme in Healthcare Information Governance was commissioned by NHS Education Scotland (NES), in partnership with NHS National Services Scotland, and has been developed by the University of Bath and the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh.

Twenty six students from throughout the UK are enrolled on the e-learning course, which will provide them with a comprehensive practitioner-based approach to understanding issues around information governance in health and social care.

From backgrounds including data protection officers, IT security managers, records managers, GP practice managers and others with specialist roles in information governance, the students will gain the necessary skills and knowledge to undertake leadership roles in information governance within health and social care organisations.

The innovative part-time course has been designed to meet the needs of people based in remote and rural locations, and combines the latest e-learning techniques with occasional face-to-face seminars and tutorials.

In particular, NES is supporting the participation of NHS staff in Scotland by providing up to sixty educational bursaries over the next two years.

“Information governance is a fast growing area of importance for the NHS in the UK and around the world and we are delighted that the School for Health at Bath can support such an important area with such a unique programme,” said Tim Bilham, Director of Education Research & Development in the University of Bath’s School for Health, who led the development of the new programme.

“The term ‘information governance’ is used to describe the arrangements put in place by NHS Boards to ensure that information is handled in a confidential and secure manner, to appropriate ethical and quality standards.’

“The programme is designed for practitioners to meet the academic and professional knowledge and skills needed by information management professionals, healthcare managers, clinicians and other staff working in health and social care, to understand how information governance could be developed for their organisations, and how to implement it with best practice.”

Commenting on the launch, Ken Macdonald, Assistant Commissioner for Scotland, said: “I welcome this initiative by the NHS Education Scotland. It is important that health service professionals understand their responsibilities when handling confidential personal information.

“Maintaining personal privacy in a health environment is clearly essential practice and, with the implementation of new approaches to health care involving greater sharing of information, it is important that appropriate attention is given to the principles behind Information Governance in designing these systems.”

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