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Freedom of Information Act FAQ

Freedom of Information Coordinator contact details

What is the Freedom of Information Act? (FOI Act)

When is the FOI Act effective from?

Can I ask to see anything I want?

Can I have access to my medical records?

How do I obtain the information I require?

How do I obtain an Application for Information form?

How long will it take to get my information?

What information is available?

How will the information be presented to me?

Will there be a charge for information?

Other useful information websites



What is the Freedom of Information Act?  (FOI Act) 

The Act is a law giving people the general right to see recorded information held by public authorities.  It helps people get a better understanding of how public authorities carry out their duties, make decisions and spend public money.

When is the FOI Act effective from?

All NHS Trust organisations must comply with the Act from 1st January 2005. The Trust must respond to requests for information it holds, in any form, as it creates a right of access to that information.

Can I ask to see anything I want?

No, there is some information that is exempt from being released.  Exemptions mainly apply where releasing the information would not be in the public interest, for example, because it could affect commercial interests or because it would break confidentiality.

Can I have access to my Health records?

Individual health records are not available under the FOI Act. You can request access to your health records under the Data Protection Act 1998 and/or the Access to Health Records Act 1990.  There may be a charge for this information.   CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT MORE

How do I obtain the information I require?

All requests for information made under the FOI Act must be made in writing.  This can be in any written form such as a letter or e-mail. It should include the name of the person asking for the information, a return address and describe the information required, giving as much detail as possible.  You can also complete a 'Request for Information' form which can be found on the Trust website www.southend.nhs.uk, or from information help desks and wards around the hospital. 

Your request should then be sent to the Freedom of Information Coordinator, who will process it.

FOI Application for Information forms are available by clicking on the link at the bottom of the page

How long will it take to get my information?

The Trust must respond to requests for information within 20 working days of receiving them.  There may be some exceptions to this, if so we will explain the reasons.

What information is available?

The FOIA requires public authorities to publish a Publication Scheme, which is a guide to all the information which can routinely be accessed. This includes both paper and electronic records.  

The information is grouped into broad categories as follows:

1. Who we are and what we do

2. What we spent and how we spend it

3. What are our priorities and how are we doing

4. How we made decisions

5. Our policies and procedures

6. Lists and registers

7. The services we offer

How will the information be presented to me?

In the format you would prefer. This can be on either paper or electronically.  Information can be made available in other formats, if requested, but this may affect the 20 working day response time.

Will there be a charge for information?

There may be a charge, but the level of charge will vary depending on the nature of the request and type or volume of information requested. When a charge is to be made, we will advise you on receipt of your request.

For further details or to make a request for information please write to:

Mrs Nicola Frost
Freedom of Information Coordinator
Service Reliability and Safety Department
Southend University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
Prittlewell Chase
Westcliff-on-Sea
Essex. SS0 0RY

Telephone: 01702 435555 extension 6455
Email: nicola.frost@southend.nhs.uk


Other useful information websites

Freedom of Information Act 2000 Crown Copyright 2000 www.opsi.gov.uk 

Data Protection Act 1998 Crown Copyright 1998 www.opsi.gov.uk

The Environmental Regulations 2004 www.opsi.gov.uk 

Freedom of Information website: www.foi.gov.uk
Information Commissioner website: www.ico.gov.uk
The Ministry of Justice www.justice.gov.uk

For a translated, large print or audiotape version of this document please contact The Freedom of Information Coordinator at the above address.