Freedom of Information
The NHS is facing unprecedented challenges during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Understandably, our resources are being diverted away from the usual compliance and information rights work to support colleagues who are working tremendously hard to provide care for our patients, and to those in need of our services.
Whilst we recognise that statutory timescales cannot be extended, at this time, the care of our patients and the safety of our staff takes precedent, therefore it is likely that responses to some requests for information will be delayed.
We apologise for this position in advance, and will endeavour to provide you with as much information as we can, as soon as we are able.
The Freedom of Information Act 2000 gives people the right to request information held by public organisations. This allows us to be more open and transparent about our organisation, who we are, what we do, who we work with and where we spend money.
The Freedom of Information Act 2000 provides a right of access to a wide range of information held by public authorities, including the NHS. The purpose is to promote greater openness and accountability.
The Freedom of InforAct does not allow people a right of access to their own personal data such as their health or personnel records. If a member of the public wishes to see information that the Trust hold about them then a Subject Access Request should be made (see below).
How to make a request under the Freedom of Information Act
1. Please check our Publication Scheme section to see if it contains the information you require.
2. Check our FOI disclosure log as your information may have been provided as part of a previous request.
3. If you still haven’t found what you are looking for then please make a request to us in writing either by email to WHCNHS.FOIrequest@nhs.net or by post addressed to Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust, Freedom of Information Officer, Company Secretary's office, 2 Kings Court, Charles Hastings Way, Worcester, WR5 1JR.
The Trust cannot accept a verbal request for information.
4. Ensure that you include a contact name and address in your request. This can be a physical or email address as long as we know where to forward your response.
5. Try to include as much detail as possible, in your request, about the information you require. This helps us when processing your request.
6. Please be aware that the Act operates an appropriate cost limit. Therefore if the time and resource taken to provide your information exceeds that limit the Trust can apply a charge to your request or issue a written refusal notice.
For further details on the Freedom of Information Act 2000, exemptions, the appropriate cost limit and more please visit the Information Commissioner’s website: www.ico.gov.uk or
Access to Health Records
This explains the procedure for requesting access to a Patient’s Health and Care Record or access to your Personal Non-Health related information. If you require clarification of anything, or need further information please let us know. Our contact details can be found at the end.
What personal information is held about me?
A health and care record contains information about the mental or physical health of a patient and will contain information supplied by the patient, healthcare professionals and others involved in a patient’s healthcare and will include such things as:
- When you saw a healthcare professional
- Details of clinical findings, care and advice given by the health professional
- Care and treatment options discussed with you and any decisions made
- Details of any action health professionals have taken and the outcome of this
Who is my personal information shared with?
Personal information is held securely within health and care records and will only be shared with health care professionals and support staff who have a legitimate right to access your records for the purpose of providing healthcare or administrative services for you.
There will be circumstances when your health and care record can be shared with other people but there will be strict rules in place around when this occurs to give you the reassurance that your records are not accessed or shared inappropriately. Such circumstances may include:
- Where you have given your consent in writing for someone else to access your records
- If you are not in a position to give consent and are not capable of managing your own affairs – in which case the person responsible for managing your affairs will normally have the right of access
- In the case of a child, the parent(s) will normally have the right of access although this is at the discretion of the organisational holding the record
- Following your death, then your personal representative or the person managing your affairs will normally have the right of access to relevant parts of your health and care record
There may also be certain other rights of access laid down in law, where a legitimate request has been made as part of a criminal investigation or to safeguard your best interests.
Am I able to see or receive a copy of my personal information?
Yes, you have the right to access health and care or personal information about you that is recorded manually, on a computer, or other storage means by the Trust. However, there are certain exemptions to this, but in most cases this information can be provided free of charge.
How much does it cost to access my information?
In most cases this information can be provided free of charge unless your request is manifestly unfounded or excessive, particularly if it is repetitive when an administrative cost may be made.
Applying to access your Health and Care Records
If you want to see or view a copy of your health and care records you don’t have to give a reason, but should make your application in writing to the Records Manager on the application form that can be downloaded from this website and provide as much information as possible to help us locate the records.
To satisfy ourselves we are sharing your records lawfully, you will need to verify your identity. Your application will need to be accompanied by copies of at least two official documents that relate to the person making the request. These should confirm your name, date of birth and current address e.g. driving license, birth / adoption certificate, recent utility bill (mobile phone bills are not acceptable).
Your completed application form and copies of your official documents should be returned to:
The Records Manager
Herefordshire and Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust
2 Kings Court
Charlies Hastings Way
Viewing Health and Care Records
If you would prefer to look through your health and care records rather than having copies, we will try to arrange this at a mutually convenient time to do this. We will still need to make sure it is safe and appropriate for you to view your records and that no exemptions apply.
We will normally provide an appointment with an appropriate clinician (the health professional who is currently, or was most recently, responsible for the clinical care of the patient) or layperson (someone who is employed by the Trust but will not be able to answer any questions about the clinical care you have received) for you to view your health and care record. You will still need to follow the same process to apply for access to your health and care records.
Can access be denied or restricted?
There may be exemptions in certain situations where we may decide to withhold certain information, for example:
- When we are not satisfied that the applicant is acting with the patient’s permission
- Where we believe releasing the information may cause serious harm to the physical or mental health of the patient or any other individual
- Where the record contains third party information about another individual and we do not have their permission to share this.
How long will it take to receive my records?
We aim to provide your records within one month of receipt of all the information we need to locate your records. If your records are complex or numerous and we envisage it may take longer than this we will inform you of this.
What happens next?
Once we have received your completed form and ID we will locate the health and Care records, prepare the required copy and obtain authority to release them from the appropriate health professional and then make arrangements for you to either view or receive a copy of your health and care record.