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Freedom of Information

The purpose of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 is to promote greater openness by public authorities. The right to access recorded information held by the Trust may be exercised by anyone worldwide. This dates back to 1st January 2005.

Anyone may ask general or specific questions about any aspect of Trust business and its decision making processes.

Does this conflict with the Data Protection Act?

No, there are exemptions to the Freedom of Information obligations that protect personal information from being released.  No member of the public may apply to receive your personal and confidential patient or staff information.

In the event that it is your personal healthcare or your personal staff records that you require then you submit a SAR (subject access request) to the Trust under the Data Protection Act 1998. Requests for personal health records may be made on this form or you can ring 01245 514288 to have a form sent to you.  There is a fee chargeable to receive duplicate records or you can ring to book an appointment to view your records free of charge.

Please Click Here to download an Access to Records form.

Requests for staff records should be submitted by letter direct to the Human Resources Department, Broomfield Hospital.

Are there any useful websites?

www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk – the Information Commission is responsible for the Freedom of Information Act, the Environmental Information Regulations and the Data Protection Act and there is much advice on how individuals can exercise their legal rights.

How do I contact someone?

If you wish to discuss any aspect of the Trust’s strategy for meeting the requirements of Freedom of Information and the environmental Information Regulations, contact Rebecca Pascoe on 01245 514326 or e-mail to:

foi@meht.nhs.uk

or write to:

Rebecca Pascoe
Manager
Mid Essex Hospitals NHS Trust
Court Road
Essex CM1 7ET

Are there Exemptions from the Act?

Whilst the Trust and other public bodies will be as open as possible there are 23 exemptions under the Act. Some of these relate to national security, international relations or the justice system - the main exemptions that will apply to the NHS are:

  • personal data (except where staff names are mentioned in viewable documents such as Trust Board Minutes or on the Trust website)

  • Commercially sensitive information or trade secrets

  • Information that is already in the public domain

 

How do I appeal against a decision not to disclose?

If the Trust decides not to disclose Information the requester will be informed of the basis for the refusal together with a right of appeal and how to exercise it. The first level of appeal will normally be to the Trust. 

The final level of appeal will be to the Information Commissioner.