What information do you produce?
The Trust produces a variety of information including:

  • Policies and procedures
  • Reports
  • Statistical information
  • Web pages
  • Finance documents
  • Service information

How is information stored?
Records are stored in various formats including:

  • Electronic – e.g. emails, Word documents, databases and stored within various systems
  • Manual – e.g. published leaflets and reports

What are my rights of access under the Freedom of Information Act?
The Freedom of Information Act gives you the power to request any information that the Trust holds. This may be minutes of meetings, access to service requirements or how the Trust has spent money.

Anyone can request information that the Trust holds under Freedom of Information and can expect a reply within 20 working days unless there is a good reason why this can not be done.

What information is already available?
The Trust has a commitment to be open and will regularly publish information on its website. On the Trust’s website you will find our publication scheme.

A publication scheme is a catalogue of information that the Trust routinely makes available.

The information currently available through the scheme includes:

  • Who we are and what we do
  • What we spend and how we spend it
  • How we make decisions
  • What our priorities are and the progress we are making with them
  • The services we offer
  • Our policies and procedures
  • Environmental information

How do I make a request for information?
If you require information that is not in the publication scheme you can request the information directly from the Trust.
Your request for information must be in writing (letter, fax or email) and must contain the following:

  • Name
  • Forwarding address – email or postal
  • Clear description of the information you want
  • Telephone number – this is useful as it enables us to contact you quickly if clarification is needed, however this is not essential

You will need to forward your request to: Freedom of Information Information Governance Office
Dorothy Pattison Hospital
Alumwell Close
Email: bchft.foi1@nhs.net
Telephone: 0121 612 8017

Once your request is received you will receive all information that is not covered by an exemption within 20 working days.

Are there any exceptions?
Any information published or released by the Trust is subject to exemptions. There are two types of exemption - ‘Absolute’ or ‘Qualified’ exemption. Examples for these are below:
Absolute exemptions
Section 21 – information accessible by other means i.e. the publication scheme
Section 23 – national security
Section 32 – court records
Section 40 – personal information (this is still covered by the Data Protection Act 1998
Qualified Exemptions
Section 22 – information intended for future publication e.g. within a public document.
Section 43 – commercial interest (trade secrets) e.g. releasing information could impact another organisation.

If you make a request and an exemption applies, the Trust will inform you providing an explanation within the 20 working day time period. When considering an exemption the Trust will always favour disclosure of the information.

Can I use freedom of information to access my records?
The Freedom of Information Act applies to corporate records. The Data Protection Act allows you to find out what information is held about you. It applies to your health records, if you want to see them you can make a written request to the service where you are or have been treated.

In certain circumstances, your right to see some details in your health records may be limited in your own interest or for other reasons.

For further information about the Freedom of Information Act and the Trust’s procedures under the Act please contact the Freedom of Information Lead on 0121 612 8017.