Under Section 19 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, we have a legal duty to adopt and maintain a Freedom of Information Publication Scheme. The purpose of the Act is to promote greater openness in public authorities. The Publication Scheme helps people to find all the information that we publish. You can read our current Freedom of Information Publication Scheme by clicking here.
If you are unable to find the information you want, you can make a Freedom of Information request by emailing email@example.com, or by sending a letter to:
Greets Green Road
Everyone has the right to request information held by public sector organisations. You can ask for any information at all, but some information might be withheld to protect various interests which are allowed for by the Act. If this is case, we have to tell you why we've withheld the information.
All you have to do to make a request is write to or email us. You should make sure that you include your name, contact details, and a description of the information you want. You should try to describe the information you want in as much detail as possible.
The Freedom of Information Act does not affect someone’s legal right to patient confidentiality in accordance with Article 8 of the Human Rights Convention, the Data Protection Act, and common law. Protecting a patient’s legal right to confidentiality continues to be a responsibility we take very seriously. This is why we’ve appointed a member of the Trust Board to make sure that protection of patient confidentiality is maintained throughout the Trust, in accordance with people’s legal rights.
The Trust routinely receives requests from companies and individuals asking for information linked to patients who may have died without a will or where there is no known next of kin. In line with published guidance the Trust will not release the names of the deceased in accordance with Section 41 of the Freedom of Information Act, “information provided in confidence”.
The Trust’s explanation of the use of the FOIA exemption at Aection 41 is as follows:
The information that has been requested is held within each individual’s Health Record. The identity of the individual was provided by the individual for the purpose of their health care (in this case mental health) in the belief that it would be held in confidence, even after death. Disclosing this information and other information directly relating to the deceased individual that forms part of their Health Record could result in an actionable breach of confidence by any representative of the person or any relative, should one exist, who was unknown at the time of being passed to the Treasury Solicitor.
In addition, it is Department of Health and General Medical Council policy that records relating to deceased people should be treated with the same level of confidentiality as those relating to living people. Access to the health records of a deceased person is governed by the Access to Health Records Act 1990. Under this legislation when a patient has died, only their personal representative or executor or administrator or anyone having a claim resulting from the death (this could be a relative or another person), has the right to apply for access to the deceased’s health records.
Reference is made to the case of Bluck and Epsom and St Helier NHS Trust, where the Information Tribunal found that doctors have a duty of confidence even after a patient has deceased because this is necessary to ensure that patients feel confident in sharing all relevant information when alive and thereby obtain appropriate medical care. Were any information to be disclosed about the patient after death, this will deter patients from sharing information and therefore frustrate the purpose of the duty of confidence.