The Freedom of Information Act 2000 aims to produce a culture of openness in public bodies, by providing members of the public with the right to access information held. The main purpose behind this is to show how public money is being used.
GP practices, although not government owned, are considered to be “public bodies” for the purposes of this Act. Therefore members of the public (not necessarily patients) can request information from them. This right came into force in 2005.
GP practices are required to make information available via a “publication scheme”. This may be held in paper form or by electronic means. It will include information commonly requested and is available on request.
The practice’s publication scheme follows the model scheme for GP practices approved by the Information Commissioner.
The information contained in the publication scheme is available at no charge.
The practice complies with the principles of the Freedom of Information Act, and as such updates the
publication scheme document on at least an annual basis, and at other intervals during the year if significant changes occur.
The publication scheme itself will contain the date of the latest update.
All requests for information must be responded to within 20 working days. A fee can be charged when dealing with a request. This will be calculated in accordance with the Act. If a fee is required for information requested, the 20 day timescale can be extended to up to three months.
There’s is a range of exemptions covering personal data, security, formulation of government policy and commercial and individual confidentially. A further absolute exemption is where information is available by other means or if the information is has been provided in confidence.
We welcome feedback from members of the public as to the information they would like to see in our publication scheme.
Please write to the Patient Liaison and Communication Lead with any ideas which you may have.
If you are dissatisfied with the way in which your request for access under the Act has been handled, or if you wish to appeal against a refusal to release any information requested, please write in the first instance to the Patient Liaison and Communication Lead.
If, after receiving a reply, you remaindissatisfied you may appeal to the Information Commissioner. Details of how to do this will be supplied as part of your reply.
All requests, with the exception of a copy of the publication scheme, are to be made addressed to Beaconmedicalgroup@nhs.net
The publication scheme contains details relating to information held by the practice and how you can request a copy.
Some information is subject to specific written application as above. A fee may be charged.