Freedom of Information
The Freedom of Information (FOI) Act gives the public a general right of access to the corporate, non-personal, information held by the Trust, subject to exemptions.
Who may request Information?
Anyone can request information under FOI; this includes
- The general public
- Member of Parliament
- Commercial Organisations
- Charities and support groups
- Other Healthcare professionals
What can I request?
Under the Freedom of Information Act you have a right to request any recorded information held by the Trust. This right only applies to recorded information; this may be held on computers, in emails, formal documents, such as policies or accounts, as well as hand written notes.
If the information is not recorded, or is no longer held, the Trust is not required to create the information or give a judgement that is not already documented.
FOI is for corporate information only. If you wish to access medical records please see the section for ‘Your Health Records’. FOI should also not be used to pursue any private interests or make personal attacks against the Trust or its staff.
What should I do before I make a request?
There are some steps you can take before submitting a request.
The Trust makes some information routinely available through our website, such as finance accounts and annual reports. These are available from our website.
There may also be information published by other organisations which a quick internet search can locate. There is a range of information available on the following websites:
Frequently asked FOI requests and information which is likely to be in the wider public interest are published on our disclosure log. This is available from our dedicated disclosure log section.
How can I request Information?
You do not need to say why you want the information or that the request is a Freedom of Information request (although this does help).
There are however some simple rules which need to be followed:
- Your request must be in writing with a return address. This can be a postal address, email address or even a fax number.
- You must include your name. The Trust may ask for proof of ID.
- Clearly describe the information you want
- Send the request to the Trust
Your request can be for a specific document or as a question but we must be able to identify the information.
There is a limit on the cost of compliance with any single request, so the more specific your request the better. If it is likely to exceed the cost, we will notify you and work towards agreeing a revised request.
Once you have your request set, specified and ready to go, please send it to:
Freedom of Information
Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust (SDGH)
Town Lane, Kew
Or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
What happens after I make my request?
Once we receive your request we have to reply within 20 working days.
If we need to seek a clarification from you, the response days is suspended until we receive sufficient information to continue to process your request.
When we respond, we will either:
- Provide the information requested in full, or
- Confirm that the information is not held, or
- Apply an exemption to disclosure, confirming whether the information is held where appropriate.
There are a number of exemptions under the Act whereby the Trust is not obliged to release information. These exemptions include:
- Personal Information
- Law enforcement
- Commercial Interests
- Information accessible by other means
We may request an extension to the response days in order to consider an exemption and apply the public interest test. We will keep you informed if this is the case.
Where can I access further information about my rights?
Freedom of Information is regulated by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). Please see our section on the ICO for further information.