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Freedom of Information

FREEDOM of INFORMATION POLICY

Introduction

 The following policy sets out the Practice approach to the Freedom of Information (FoI) Act.

 Policy

  • The Practice will comply with the FoI Act and sees it as an opportunity to enhance public trust and confidence in the Practice
  • The Practice will maintain a comprehensive 'Publication Scheme' that provides information which is readily accessible without the need for a formal FoI Act request.
  • The Practice will seek to satisfy all FoI Act requests promptly and within 20 working days. However, if necessary we will extend this timescale to give full consideration to a Public Interest test. If we do not expect to meet the deadline, we will inform the requester as soon as possible of the reasons for the delay and when we expect to have made a decision
  • The Practice will continue to protect the personal data entrusted to us, by disclosing it only in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998
  • The Practice will provide advice and assistance to requesters to facilitate their use of FoI Act. We will publish our procedures and assist requesters to clarify their requests so that they can obtain the information that they require.
  • The Practice will work with the NHS Blackpool and other bodies with whom we work to ensure that we can meet our FoI Act obligations, including the disclosure of any information that they hold on our behalf.
  • The Practice will apply the exemptions provided in the FoI Act and, where qualified exemptions exist, the Practice will disclose the information unless the balance of public interest lies in withholding it.
  • The Practice will consult with third parties before disclosing information that could affect their rights and interests. However, according to the FoI Act, the Practice must take the final decision on disclosure
  • The Practice will charge for information requests in line with the FoI Act Fees Regulations or other applicable regulations, including the Data Protection Act 1998
  • The Practice will record all FoI Act requests and our responses and will monitor our performance in handling requests and complaints
  • The Practice will ensure that all staff are aware of their obligations under FoI Act and will include FoI Act education in the induction of all new staff

 Guide to Information provided by GPs under the model publication scheme

Under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 all public authorities are required to have and operate a publication scheme approved by the Information Commissioner. Doctors providing medical services under most contracts with the NHS in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are public authorities in respect of information relating to those services.

It is the intention of the Information Commissioner that all public authorities should adopt and operate the one model scheme that has been approved. This is a very general scheme based on the principal that all public authorities need to recognize the public interest in the transparency of the services provided for and paid for by the general public. It is a commitment to make information easily available to the public.

Note: The scheme is only for information held as a public authority and does not include any information that is not held, is held for other purposes or would be exempt from release.

The scheme requires three documents to be considered:

  • the model scheme itself;
  • our guidance on adopting and operating the scheme; and, 
  • a guide provided by the public authority indicating what information will be provided, how it will be provided and whether any charge will be made for its provision.

To assist medical practitioners who are public authorities we have produced the outline of a guide for their use. They should consider expanding elements of it to provide greater explanation and additional information where this can be done. For example if there are specific plans for the provision of NHS services these could be detailed. It is not necessary to submit the guide completed by the practice for approval.  

We recognize that it is unlikely that GPs are going to have registers available for public inspection and while this remains the case “None Held” can be entered in this section. Under policies and procedures we have listed the policies we would expect practices to have. Again if this is not the case, “Not held” can entered in the relevant part. Any additional policies should also be listed.

Fees should be requested only where this is done in accordance our guidance.

Information available from Marton Medical Practice (providing medical services under contract to the NHS) under the Freedom of Information Act model publication scheme

Information covered by this scheme is only about the primary, general or personal medical services we provide under contract to the National Health Service.

 

Information to be published

How the information can be obtained

(eg hard copy, website)

Cost

Class1 - Who we are and what we do

(Organisational information, structures, locations and contacts)

 

This will be current information only

  

Website /  Patient Information leaflet

 

Nil

Doctors in the practice

 

Website /  Patient Information leaflet

 

Nil

Contact details for the practice (named contacts where possible with telephone number and email address (if used))

 

Website /  Patient Information leaflet

 

Nil

Opening hours

 

Website /  Patient Information leaflet

 

Nil

Other staffing details

 

Website /  Patient Information leaflet

 

Nil

 

 

 

Class 2 – What we spend and how we spend it

(Financial information relating to projected and actual income and expenditure, procurement, contracts and financial audit)

 

Current and previous financial year as a minimum

 

 

Total cost to the PCT/LHB/HSSB of our contracted services.

Available by request in writing to the Practice Manager

 

Audit of NHS income

Not held

 

 

 

 

Class 3 – What our priorities are and how we are doing

(Strategies and plans, performance indicators, audits, inspections and reviews)

 

Current and previous year as a minimum

 

 

 

 

 

Plans for the development and provision of NHS services

Not held

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Class 4 – How we make decisions

(Decision making processes and records of decisions)

 

Current and previous year as a minimum

 

Not held

 

 

 

 

Records of decisions made in the practice affecting the provision of NHS services

Not held

 

 

 

 

Class 5 – Our policies and procedures

(Current written protocols, policies and procedures for delivering our services and responsibilities)

 

Current information only (mark “not held” against any policies not actually held)

 

 

 

Policies and procedures about the employment of staff

Available by request in writing to the Practice Manager

 

Internal instructions to staff and policies relating to the delivery of services

Available by request in writing to the Practice Manager

 

Equality and diversity policy

Available by request in writing to the Practice Manager

 

Health and safety policy

Available by request in writing to the Practice Manager

 

Complaints procedures (including those covering requests for information and operating the publication scheme)

Website /  Patient Information leaflet

Reception

nil

Records management policies (records retention, destruction and archive)

Available by request in writing to the Practice Manager

 

Data protection policies

Available by request in writing to the Practice Manager

 

Policies and procedures for handling requests for information

Available by request in writing to the Practice Manager

 

Patients’ charter

Website /  Patient Information leaflet

 

nil

 

 

 

Class 6 – Lists and Registers

 

Currently maintained lists and registers only

 

 

 

Any publicly available register or list (if any are held this should be publicised; in most circumstances existing access provisions will suffice)

Not held

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Class 7 – The services we offer

(Information about the services we offer, including leaflets, guidance and newsletters produced for the public)

 

Current information only

 

 

 

 

 

 

The services provided under contract to the NHS

Website /  Patient Information leaflet

 

nil

Charges for any of these services

Website /  Patient Information leaflet

 

nil

Information leaflets

Website /  Patient Information leaflet

 

nil

Out of hours arrangements

Website /  Patient Information leaflet

 

nil

 



 
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