April 19, 2011 London, UK
Industrial gas and chemicals manufacturer Air Products and end of life care charity Marie Curie Cancer Care have joined forces to share skills and expertise in the area of data privacy and protection.
The two organisations, which both handle personal data, identified an opportunity to share experience and knowledge about data privacy, based on parallels in their respective fields of work. Marie Curie Cancer Care provided care to more than 31,000 terminally ill patients at home or in its nine hospices last year, and Air Products' Healthcare division provides home oxygen to over 325,000 patients throughout Europe.
On 6 April 2010, the Government's Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) was handed extended powers to enhance the enforcement of the UK Data Protection Act. For many organisations these moves demonstrate the increasing importance in all sectors around handling personal and sensitive data.
The agreement between the two organisations saw Air Products share with Marie Curie its experience of developing and integrating a data protection programme which included lessons learned from both technical and change management perspectives. Marie Curie will use the expertise to inform the design of a new employee training and awareness programme to be launched this spring.
Shash Patel, Director of Information Risk Management and Privacy at Air Products explained: "It is more and more necessary to proactively manage the way in which data is handled; from risk assessing and monitoring "data assets', to employee change management programmes which foster a strong culture of individual responsibility. All of this requires focused resources and we recognise that lessons from Air Products' data protection journey are of real value to others with similar obstacles. Sharing this experience with Marie Curie Cancer Care means that we are not only helping a leading UK charity, but we are continuing to define standards in the area of data protection as a whole."
According to the Charities Aid Foundation's World Giving Index 2010, 29% of the UK's charitable giving occurs through volunteering activity. Shash added: "Philanthropy is an important corporate responsibility, however in some cases, sharing relevant skills and knowledge can be of greater long-term value. With Marie Curie Cancer Care we have seen firsthand that this kind of partnership works and as part of the data protection movement, together we're adopting a new kind of best practice that really makes a difference."
Trevor Lake, Company Secretary at Marie Curie Cancer Care commented: "Spending time with the Air Products Data Protection team has helped us to understand the challenges in creating a robust and effective data handling programme for the long-term and how to overcome these. Their contribution of expertise and tried-and-tested approaches has saved us both time and money. Privacy and confidentiality are priorities for Marie Curie Cancer Care and we'd like to thank Air Products for helping us continue to set the highest standards so that our patients, employees, volunteers and supporters know that their data is in safe hands."
About Air Products
Air Products (NYSE:APD) serves customers in industrial, energy, technology and healthcare markets worldwide with a unique portfolio of atmospheric gases, process and specialty gases, performance materials, and equipment and services. Founded in 1940, Air Products has built leading positions in key growth markets such as semiconductor materials, refinery hydrogen, home healthcare services, natural gas liquefaction, and advanced coatings and adhesives. The company is recognized for its innovative culture, operational excellence and commitment to safety and the environment. In fiscal 2010, Air Products had revenues of $9 billion, operations in over 40 countries, and 18,300 employees around the globe. For more information, visit www.airproducts.com.
About Marie Curie
Marie Curie Cancer Care is one of the UK's largest charities. Employing more than 2,700 nurses, doctors and other healthcare professionals, it provided care to more than 31,000 terminally ill patients in the community and in its nine hospices last year and is the largest provider of hospice beds outside the NHS.
Around 70 per cent of the charity's income comes from the generous support of thousands of individuals, membership organisations and businesses, with the balance of our funds coming from the NHS.
Marie Curie Nurses
The charity is best known for its network of Marie Curie Nurses working in the community to provide end of life care, totally free for patients in their own homes.
The charity provides core funding for two centres for palliative care research, the Marie Curie Palliative Care Research Unit at University College London and the Marie Curie Palliative Care Institute Liverpool. It also supports palliative and end of life care research through its project grant funding streams, the Marie Curie Cancer Care Research Programme (administered by Cancer Research UK) and the Dimbleby Marie Curie Cancer Care Research Fund.
Supporting the choice to die at home
Research shows around 65 per cent of people would like to die at home if they had a terminal illness, with a sizeable minority opting for hospice care. However, more than 50 per cent of cancer deaths still occur in hospital, the place people say they would least like to be. Since 2004 Marie Curie Cancer Care has been campaigning for more patients to be able to make the choice to be cared for and die at home.