Dame Fiona Caldicott DBE FMEDSci, alumna and Honorary Fellow of St Hilda's, has died

16th February 2021

We were very sorry to hear that our alumna and Honorary Fellow, Dame Fiona Caldicott DBE FMEDSci, passed away on 15 February.

Dame Fiona (Physiology, 1960) had a distinguished career as a psychiatrist and psychotherapist. She was Principal of Somerville College 1996 – 2010 while also serving as Pro Vice-Chancellor, Personnel and Equal Opportunities, of the University of Oxford. She became an Honorary Fellow of St Hilda’s in 1996. Dame Fiona received a Lifetime Achievement award at the First Women awards on 29 June 2017, when she was described by the judges as 'a psychiatrist and psychotherapist who chaired a committee into the protection of patient data in the NHS that took her name and she has remained committed to data protection as technology has proliferated in healthcare provision.'

Dame Fiona was the first female President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists and was a non-executive director of the John Radcliffe Hospital’s NHS Trust. She also chaired the ‘Caldicott Committee’, commissioned to investigate the way patient information is used in the NHS. She was appointed Chairman of the Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals in 2009 and became the UK’s first National Data Guardian for Health and Social Care in 2014. In his tribute to Dame Fiona, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock said:

‘In this role she was a phenomenal advocate for the public and was instrumental in making sure that the NHS treats the public’s health data with the respect it deserves. The fact that every NHS organisation in the country now has its own Caldicott Guardian to protect the confidentiality of people’s data is testament to all that Dame Fiona achieved.’

The tribute to Dame Fiona by John Carvel on behalf of the National Data Guardian panel and office team, in which he describes her lasting legacy for patients and users alike can be read here.

Dame Fiona is survived by her husband, Robert Caldicott, and daughter, Lucy, and our thoughts are with them at this time.