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WC

General Data Protection Regulation

Freedom of Information

1.1 Background to the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FoI) and the Environmental Information Regulations

 

The Freedom of Information (FoI) Act 2000 is part of the Government’s commitment to greater openness in the public sector. It enables members of the public to scrutinise the decisions of public authorities more closely and to ensure that services are delivered properly and efficiently. The Act has been fully in force since 1st January 2005, replacing the non-statutory Code of Practice on Openness in the NHS.

 

The legislative framework under which environmental information is provided in the Environmental Information Regulations (EIR) , which has been written to be compatible with the Freedom of Information Act.

 

1.2 Main features of the Freedom of Information Act 2000

 

1.2.1 General Rights of Access

 

The Act gives people a general right of access to recorded information (both paper and electronic) held by the Trust, subject to certain exemptions. This means that any person who makes a written request has the right to:

 

• Be informed in writing whether the Trust holds the information requested (this is known as the ‘duty to confirm or deny’);

• Have access to that information which the Trust holds (subject to any exemptions which may apply).

 

The Act is fully retrospective, so all information held by the Surgery can be requested.

 

Anyone can make a request for information under the FOI Act, including staff, members of the general public, the media, and lawyers.

 

It is a criminal offence to destroy information with the intent of preventing disclosure following a request.

 

1.2.2 Duty to provide advice and assistance

 

Under the Act, the surgery has a duty to advise and assist those who wish to request information held by the surgery.

 

1.2.3 Publication Scheme

 

The Trust is obliged to maintain a publication scheme under the FOI Act. A publication scheme is a guide to the information which will routinely be made available to the public by the Trust. The Trust will have a publication scheme which is compliant with the requirements of the Information Commissioner’s Office, containing information within the following classes:-

 

• Who we are and what we do

• What we spend and how we spend it

 

• What are our priorities and how are we doing

• How we make decisions

• Our policies and procedures

• Lists and registers

• The services we offer

 

Each Directorate shall be responsible for appointing a Freedom of Information Act lead, who shall be responsible for ensuring the accuracy of their Directorate’s information within the publication scheme.

 

1.2.4 Regulation

 

The Act is regulated by the Information Commissioner who combines this responsibility with regulating the Data Protection Act.

 

1.2.5 Supporting Codes of Practice

The Lord Chancellor has prepared two codes of practice supporting FOI. Public Authorities are obliged to follow these:-

 

The Code of Practice issued under section 45 of the FOI Act, which sets out the practices which public authorities should follow when dealing with requests for information. It also includes a section on freedom of information and public sector contracts. This can be viewed at

 

http://www.dca.gov.uk/foi/reference/statCodesOfPractice.htm (archived site)

 

• The Code of Practice issued under section 46 of the FOI Act, which gives guidance on good practice in records management to all authorities subject to either the Freedom of Information Act, or the Public Records Act 1958. This can be viewed at

 

http://www.dca.gov.uk/foi/reference/imprep/codemanrec.htm

 

The full Act can be viewed at

 

http://www.hmso.gov.uk/acts/acts2000/20000036.htm#aofs

 

More information about the Act can be obtained from the Ministry of Justice (previously from the Department of Constitutional Affairs) at

 

www.justice.gov.uk/guidance/guidancefoi.htm

 

or the Information Commissioner

 

www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk

 

1.3 The Environmental Information Regulations (EIR)

 

In response to the European Directive on freedom of access to information on the environment, there has been a legal requirement on public authorities to provide environmental information upon request since 1992. That is, information relating to the

 

state of air, water, flora, fauna, health, soil or the state of any natural site or other land, or any activities which do (or may) adversely affect the environment.

The Regulations provide general right of access to environmental information, subject to certain exemptions. Requests for environmental information will be processed by UHL in the same way as FoI requests.

More information on EIR can be found on the DEFRA website at www.defra.gov.uk

 

2. Scope

 

This Policy applies to all employees of the surgery,. It will provide a framework for the surgery to ensure compliance with this Act, delivered through the establishment and implementation of appropriate operation procedures, guidelines and practices.

 

3. Policy Statements

 

The surgery supports the principle that openness should be the standard in public life.

 

The surgery will use all appropriate and necessary means to ensure that it complies with the Freedom of Information Act 2000, the associated Codes of Practice issued by the Lord Chancellor’s Department and the Environmental Information Regulations.

 

The surgery also believes that individuals have a right to privacy and confidentiality. This policy does not overturn the common law duty of confidentiality or statutory provisions that prevent disclosure of personal information. The release of personal information will be dealt with under the provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998.

 

The surgery will undertake or commission annual assessments and audits of this policy and it’s supporting procedures and guidelines through the Information Governance Toolkit.

 

The surgery will maintain a publication scheme.

 

The surgery will maintain systems and procedures designed to respond to FOI and EIR requests within the 20 working day limit.

 

The surgery recognises the duty to advise and assist will maintain systems and procedures in place to fulfil that obligation.

 

The surgery will maintain and publicise a complaints handling system for FOI requests – this will be outside the usual NHS complaints procedure

 

The Surgery will maintain and publicise a schedule of charges for handling FOI and EIR requests which is in accordance with statutory guidelines1.

 

 

 

Corporate and Legal Affairs are operationally responsible for:

 

• Maintaining the publication scheme;

• Responding to requests under the Freedom of Information Act and Environmental Information Regulations.

 

Information Management and Technology are responsible for supporting records management within the surgery.

 

4. Supporting Procedures

 

• Freedom of Information and Environmental Information - Complaints Procedure (Available separately on DMS)

 

• Freedom of Information Act 2000 and the Environmental Information Regulations Procedure (plus appendices A-D)

Access to Medical Records

If you would like a copy of your medical records please provide a signed written request to reception.

 

Please note you may be charged an administrative fee which is dependent on the amount of information you require.

 

All fees are in line with BMA guidance.

 

If you wish to review your medical records and do not require copies you will also need to request this in writing (there may be a charge for this service also).

 

Please contact the practice to confirm the fees if applicable.

Confidentiality Policy

1.2.1 General Rights of Access

 

The Act gives people a general right of access to recorded information (both paper and electronic) held by the Trust, subject to certain exemptions. This means that any person who makes a written request has the right to:

 

• Be informed in writing whether the Trust holds the information requested (this is known as the ‘duty to confirm or deny’);

• Have access to that information which the Trust holds (subject to any exemptions which may apply).

 

The Act is fully retrospective, so all information held by the Surgery can be requested.

 

Anyone can make a request for information under the FOI Act, including staff, members of the general public, the media, and lawyers.

 

It is a criminal offence to destroy information with the intent of preventing disclosure following a request.

 

1.2.2 Duty to provide advice and assistance

 

Under the Act, the surgery has a duty to advise and assist those who wish to request information held by the surgery.

 

1.2.3 Publication Scheme

 

The Trust is obliged to maintain a publication scheme under the FOI Act. A publication scheme is a guide to the information which will routinely be made available to the public by the Trust. The Trust will have a publication scheme which is compliant with the requirements of the Information Commissioner’s Office, containing information within the following classes:-

 

• Who we are and what we do

• What we spend and how we spend it

• What are our priorities and how are we doing

• How we make decisions

• Our policies and procedures

• Lists and registers

• The services we offer

 

Each Directorate shall be responsible for appointing a Freedom of Information Act lead, who shall be responsible for ensuring the accuracy of their Directorate’s information within the publication scheme.

 

1.2.4 Regulation

 

The Act is regulated by the Information Commissioner who combines this responsibility with regulating the Data Protection Act.

 

1.2.5 Supporting Codes of Practice

The Lord Chancellor has prepared two codes of practice supporting FOI. Public Authorities are obliged to follow these:-

 

The Code of Practice issued under section 45 of the FOI Act, which sets out the practices which public authorities should follow when dealing with requests for information. It also includes a section on freedom of information and public sector contracts. This can be viewed at

 

http://www.dca.gov.uk/foi/reference/statCodesOfPractice.htm (archived site)

 

• The Code of Practice issued under section 46 of the FOI Act, which gives guidance on good practice in records management to all authorities subject to either the Freedom of Information Act, or the Public Records Act 1958. This can be viewed at

 

http://www.dca.gov.uk/foi/reference/imprep/codemanrec.htm

 

The full Act can be viewed at

 

http://www.hmso.gov.uk/acts/acts2000/20000036.htm#aofs

 

More information about the Act can be obtained from the Ministry of Justice (previously from the Department of Constitutional Affairs) at

 

www.justice.gov.uk/guidance/guidancefoi.htm

 

or the Information Commissioner

 

www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk

 

1.3 The Environmental Information Regulations (EIR)

 

In response to the European Directive on freedom of access to information on the environment, there has been a legal requirement on public authorities to provide environmental information upon request since 1992. That is, information relating to the

 

state of air, water, flora, fauna, health, soil or the state of any natural site or other land, or any activities which do (or may) adversely affect the environment.

The Regulations provide general right of access to environmental information, subject to certain exemptions. Requests for environmental information will be processed by UHL in the same way as FoI requests.

More information on EIR can be found on the DEFRA website at www.defra.gov.uk

 

2. Scope

 

This Policy applies to all employees of the surgery,. It will provide a framework for the surgery to ensure compliance with this Act, delivered through the establishment and implementation of appropriate operation procedures, guidelines and practices.

 

3. Policy Statements

 

The surgery supports the principle that openness should be the standard in public life.

 

The surgery will use all appropriate and necessary means to ensure that it complies with the Freedom of Information Act 2000, the associated Codes of Practice issued by the Lord Chancellor’s Department and the Environmental Information Regulations.

 

The surgery also believes that individuals have a right to privacy and confidentiality. This policy does not overturn the common law duty of confidentiality or statutory provisions that prevent disclosure of personal information. The release of personal information will be dealt with under the provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998.

 

The surgery will undertake or commission annual assessments and audits of this policy and it’s supporting procedures and guidelines through the Information Governance Toolkit.

 

The surgery will maintain a publication scheme.

 

The surgery will maintain systems and procedures designed to respond to FOI and EIR requests within the 20 working day limit.

 

The surgery recognises the duty to advise and assist will maintain systems and procedures in place to fulfil that obligation.

 

The surgery will maintain and publicise a complaints handling system for FOI requests – this will be outside the usual NHS complaints procedure

 

The Surgery will maintain and publicise a schedule of charges for handling FOI and EIR requests which is in accordance with statutory guidelines1.

 

Corporate and Legal Affairs are operationally responsible for:

 

• Maintaining the publication scheme;

• Responding to requests under the Freedom of Information Act and Environmental Information Regulations.

 

Information Management and Technology are responsible for supporting records management within the surgery.

 

4. Supporting Procedures

 

• Freedom of Information and Environmental Information - Complaints Procedure (Available separately on DMS)

 

• Freedom of Information Act 2000 and the Environmental Information Regulations Procedure (plus appendices A-D)

 

Leicester City CCG Data Handling

Please select one of the following links to view:

 

LC CCG Health Records Poster

 

LC CCG Health Records Leaflet

 

FAQ's for Patients

Enhanced Data Sharing Model (EDSM)

SystmOne allows health and social care providers who are involved in delivering care to you (either currently or in the future) to benefit from being able to access your electronic health record, to support them with making a fully informed decision about the care you require. The practice have set their allowed list of providers which includes: University Hospitals of Leicester, Leicestershire Partnership Trust, LOROS, Derbyshire Health United, Leicester City Council, Leicestershire County Council and Rutland County Council).

 

Patient Information Leaflet 1 - EDSM Enhancements

 

Patient Information Leaflet 2 - Patient Guide - Sharing Your Medical Record

 

Patient Information Leaflet 2 - Patient Guide - SystmOnline Sharing Preferences

Data Protection Officer

 

Our DPO (Data Protection Officer) is provided by Leicester City Clinical Comissioning Group.

Ms. Hayley Gidman, Midlands & Lancs Comissioning support unit.

Tel: 07809 980989   email: hayley.gidman@nhs.net