The Freedom of Information Act is intended to reflect a political shift from a culture of secrecy in public administration to one of openness. The underlying principle is that all information held by a public authority should be freely available except for a small number of tightly defined exempt items. It seeks to balance three rights:
- The right to information
- The right to confidentiality
- The right to effective public administration
The general principle is that openness is the default and that there must be good reasons for withholding information.
The Act gives members of the public the right to be told whether requested information exists and the right to receive that information. It sets out exemptions from that right and places a number of obligations on public authorities. It is fully retrospective so it includes information we already possess. The Act is fully enforced by the Information Commissioner, becoming effective from January 2005. It embodies much of what is already good practice as set out in the NHS Code of Openness. It also supplements and complements the Data Protection Act and is qualified by our confidentiality codes.
The Freedom of Information Act does not change the right of patients to protection of their patient confidentiality in accordance with Article 8 of the Human Rights Convention, the Data Protection Act and common law. Maintaining the legal right to patient confidentiality continues to be an important commitment on our part.
To help with this, we have appointed a Caldicott Guardian who has responsibility to ensure the protection of patient confidentiality throughout the Trust in accordance with your legal rights. Our Caldicott Guardian is:
Miss Jane McNicholas - Interim Medical Director
Westmorland General Hospital
NHS organisations are required to produce a 'Publication Scheme'. This is a complete guide to the information routinely published by Trust. We will review the Scheme at regular intervals and monitor how it is operating. It is important to us that this Scheme meets your needs.
This Publication Scheme will help you to find all the information which the Trust publishes.
See the latest FOI information leaflet available for staff at UHMBT.
Freedom of Information Disclosure Log
1. Requests for information must be in writing (including email)
2. Requests must provide a name and address for correspondence
3. All information requested should be described clearly
All Freedom of Information Requests should be directed to either;
Freedom of Information team
Westmorland General Hospital
or by email to; Freedom.Information@mbht.nhs.uk
If you are unsure of how to format your request a template is available which may be helpful:
If you are unhappy with the way the Trust has dealt with any request, you have the right to apply for an Internal Review through our postal or email addresses as referenced above.