Freedom of Information requests during the current Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic
Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust are committed to complying with the Freedom of Information Act (FOI) 2000. During this extraordinary period we would like to ask you for your patience and understanding when submitting a FOI request. At the current time, we are having to prioritise other areas and adapt our usual approach to these requests. We will continue to process these within the 20 working day timescale given under the FOIA whenever we can, but this will be dependent on the availability of staff, which could impact on timely delivery of FOI responses during this challenging period.
We would like to apologise for any inconvenience that this may cause, and assure you that we will get the requested information to you as soon as possible. Can we please ask that you consider if your request is still required or can be delayed until after this pandemic is over.
The Freedom of Information Act 2000 came into force at the beginning of 2005 and grants access to official information held by public bodies, including foundation trusts within the NHS. Under the Act, individuals or organisations have the right to request information held by a public authority. They can do this by letter or email. The public authority must tell the applicant whether it holds the information, and must normally supply it within 20 working days, in the format requested.
However, the public authority does not have to provide the requested information if an exemption applies, the request is vexatious or similar to a previous request, or if the cost of compliance exceeds an appropriate limit. If exemption applies, but is qualified, this means that the public authority must decide whether the public interest in using the exemption outweighs the public interest in releasing the information.
If an applicant is unhappy with a refusal to disclose information, they can complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), after first exhausting any internal review procedure. The ICO will investigate the case and either uphold the authority’s use of an exemption or decide that the information must be disclosed.
Information must also be published through the public authority’s publication scheme and is a commitment by a public authority to make certain information available, and a guide on how to get it.
The Act is fully retrospective and applies to all information, not just information filed since the Act came into force.
Data Protection Act 1998 – access to health records
Regulations exist with regard to the Data Protection Act 1998 which gives individuals the right to know what information is held about them. It provides a framework to ensure that personal information is handled properly.
If you wish to apply for access to health records, please click here.
Any questions, comments or complaints about this scheme should be sent in writing to:
Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust
Harrogate District Hospital
Lancaster Park Road
Or Email to: