The Freedom of Information Act creates a right of access to recorded information and obliges a public authority to:
- Have a publication scheme in place
- Allow public access to information held by public authorities.
The Act covers any recorded organisational information such as reports, policies or strategies, that is held by a public authority in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and by UK-wide public authorities based in Scotland, however it does not cover personal information such as patient records which are covered by the Data Protection Act.
Public authorities include government departments, local authorities, the NHS, state schools and police forces.
The Act is enforced by the Information Commissioner who regulates both the Freedom of Information Act and the Data Protection Act.
The Surgery publication scheme
A publication scheme requires an authority to make information available to the public as part of its normal business activities. The scheme lists information under seven broad classes, which are:
- who we are and what we do
- what we spend and how we spend it
- what our priorities are and how we are doing it
- how we make decisions
- our policies and procedures
- lists and registers
- the services we offer
How much does it cost?
The publications are all free unless otherwise indicated within each Class. Where information is provided at a cost the charges will be calculated as set out in Class 7.
How is the information made available?
The information within each Class is either downloadable from the practice website or available in hard copy from:
Beacon Primary Care,
Sandy Lane Health Centre,
Who can request information?
Under the Act, any individual, anywhere in the world, is able to make a request to a practice for information. An applicant is entitled to be informed in writing, by the practice, whether the practice holds information of the description specified in the request and if that is the case, have the information communicated to him. An individual can request information, regardless of whether he/she is the subject of the information or affected by its use.
How should requests be made?
- be made in writing (this can be electronically e.g. email/fax)
- state the name of the applicant and an address for correspondence
- describe the information requested.
What cannot be requested?
Personal data about staff and patients covered under Data Protection Act.
Your rights to information
In addition to accessing the information identified in the Publication Scheme, you are entitled to request information about Beacon Primary Care General Practice under the NHS Openness Code 1995.
The Freedom of Information Act 2000 recognises that members of the public have the right to know how public services are organised and run, how much they cost and how the decisions are made. From January 1st 2005 it will oblige the General Practice to respond to requests about information that it holds, and is recorded in any format and it will create a right of access to that information. These rights are subject to some exemptions which have to be taken into consideration before deciding what information it can release.
New environmental information regulations may be introduced as early as 2003. These will enable similar access to environmental information as under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.
Under the Data Protection Act 1998, you are also entitled to access your clinical records or any other personal information held about you and you can contact: Senior Partner or Practice Manager to do this.
Beacon Primary Care
Sandy Lane Health Centre
Classes of Information
All information at the Beacon Primary Care General Practice is held, retained and destroyed in accordance with NHS guidelines. Our commitment to publish information excludes any information which can be legitimately withheld under the exemptions set out in the NHS Openness Code or Freedom of Information Act 2000. Where individual Classes are subject to exemptions, the main reasons are e.g. the protection of commercial interests and personal information under the Data Protection Act 1998. This applies to all Classes within the Publication Scheme. The information on this Scheme is grouped into the following broad categories:
Cost of Information
For the most part, we will charge you only for hard copies or copying onto media (e.g. CD ROM). Some information is available free, but for others there may be a charge. The charges will vary according to how information is made available. Charges are as follows:
Via the Beacon Primary Care Website
Free of charge, although any charges for Internet Service provider and personal printing costs would have to be met by the individual
You can get free internet access with assistance at any local library.
Leaflets and brochures
Free of charge for leaflets or booklets on, for example, services we offer to the public.
The charges will be reviewed regularly.
For more information see these websites:
Material available through this Publication Scheme is subject to the General Practice’s copyright unless otherwise indicated. Unless expressly indicated to the contrary, it may be reproduced free of charge in any format or medium provided it is done so accurately in a manner which will not mislead. Where items are re-published or copied to others, you must identify the source and acknowledge copyright status. This permit does not extend to third party material, accessed through the scheme.