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Freedom of information

Freedom of information

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) provides you with access to information held by public authorities.

You can ask for information about the business processes, statistics or day-to-day workings of the Trust for example. Before making a formal request check our website to see if it has what you want.

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has produced a model publication scheme which has a guide to the types of corporate information we must make available.

Our publications library shows most of what  we publish. This however is not a complete list. If you want information that is not published you can make an individual application.

What information can I obtain?

You can get information about the business processes and day-to-day workings of the Trust. Before you make a formal request to the Trust please check this website to see if it contains the information you are looking for.

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has produced a model publication scheme which contains a guide to the types of corporate information we are expected to make routinely available as a public authority.

Our Guide to Information page gives you specific information about what we publish, including:

  • how it will be published
  • where to find it
  • and any charges for supplying copies.

This guide is not a comprehensive list of what is available through the FOIA. You may want information that is not already published. You are entitled to ask for that by making an individual application.

Information is not limited to paper documents, it also includes material on our website or answers to questions that interested people may want to ask.

What information is already available?

The majority of corporate information we produce is available through our Guide to Information and other information will be readily available on request.

The COI Publication Scheme and our Guide to Information are jointly a complete guide to the information routinely published by us. It lists the information about our Trust which we make publicly available.

It is important to us that the guide meets your needs and we have designed it to help you find information about the Trust easily. However, if you feel there is information that should be added to the guide that we have missed, please feel free to contact us at the address below.

Can I get access to information about myself or other patients?

The Freedom of Information Act does not change the legal right of service users to the protection of their patient confidentiality.

Maintaining this right of confidentiality is an important commitment for all NHS organisations. All Trusts have appointed a Caldicott Guardian who is responsible for ensuring the protection of patient confidentiality throughout each Trust in accordance with patient legal rights. The Caldicott Guardian for our Trust is our Medical Director.

You may obtain access to your own health records under the Data Protection Act 2018 - Find out more here.

Will I be able to get access to all the Trust's information?

No, there are some exemptions which are listed within the Act. We may not be able to supply all or part of the information requested. For example, information that might affect health and safety within the Trust, such as details of security arrangements, would not be released. If possible we will supply the information requested with the exempt information removed.

Is there a charge for information supplied from the Guide to Information?

Usually there is no charge for documents contained within our Guide to Information. If we have to do significant amounts of work or photocopying, then we have the right to charge a fee (you would be informed of this in advance) or even refuse to undertake the research involved. This would only happen in exceptional circumstances.

How can I get access to information not contained within the Guide to Information?

Make your request in writing or by email. Please include your name and address so that we can contact you.

You do not need to say why you want the information. You must give us enough detail about the information so we can correctly find it.

We will tell you if we require a fee and contact you as soon as possible. When your payment is received, we have 20 working days to send you the information.

Make your request in writing to the information governance manager at the address at the bottom of this page.

Where can I see the Guide to Information?

You can view our Guide to Information here, or you can get a copy from the Inormation Governance Manager by writing to the address at the bottom of this page.

How can I make a complaint or appeal?

Any complaints about our handling of your request or about our Guide to Information should be addressed to the Information Governance Manager.

You can also contact the Government department responsible for ensuring organisations comply with the Freedom of Information Act:

The Information Commissioner
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Cheshire SK9 5AF
Helpline tel: 0303 123 1113
Fax: 01625 524 510

How can I access my health records?

You cannot request your medical records under the Freedom of Information Act they are classed as exempt information. But you can ask to access your records under a different Act of Parliament, the Data Protection Act 1998.

You can do this by writing to, or emailing the Information Governance Manager for an application form and guidance notes to help you in your application.

To make a request contact: 

Information Governance Manager
Information Services - Building 14
South West London and St George's Mental Health NHS Trust
Springfield University Hospital
61 Glenburnie Road
SW17 7DJ