Information Governance-Freedom of Information


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Data Protection and Freedom of Information (FOI) – Publication Scheme

Data Protection and Caldicott Principles

Maintaining the legal right to patient confidentiality continues to be an important commitment by the Trust.  To assist with this, the Trust has appointed a Caldicott Guardian who has responsibility to ensure the protection of patient confidentiality throughout the Trust in accordance with an individual’s legal rights. In this Trust, the Caldicott Guardian is Louise Stead,  Director of Nursing & Patient Experience, and Deputy Caldicott Guardian is Jo Embleton, Deputy Director of Nursing. If you have any questions with regards to patient confidentiality please either send by email to: or in writing to the Information Governance Department at the address below.

How we use your information:  Your healthcare records – your information

You are also entitled to access your healthcare records or any other personal information held by the Trust about you.  Access to this type of information is a Subject Access Request which falls under the Data Protection Act 1998.

For further information on how to make a request to access your healthcare records, please click here

Patient guidance on preventing the use of your information for non-healthcare or social purposes other than direct care


Information about the care you receive assists those involved in providing health and care services to understand the care you need and to identify where any improvements or changes may need to be made.

The NHS has been using information from health records for purposes other than providing your direct care, for example to support training, research and to help plan new health services, known as secondary care.  For whatever purpose that information is used, there are strict controls in place governed by Law and the NHS Code of Confidentiality.

Under the ‘Better information means better Health’ / Care.Data initiative data from GPs and other healthcare providers will be added to provide a more comprehensive dataset on people’s health.  This data is held by NHS Digital which has overall responsibility for delivering the Secondary Uses Service (SUS) Programme that supports NHS Commissioners and Providers (and their partners) by providing a single source of comprehensive data for the following areas:

  • planning
  • commissioning
  • management
  • research
  • audit
  • public health
  • Payment by Results

Some public interest groups, GPs and Healthcare providers, have raised concerns around NHS data loss incidents and the possibility of this data being made available to commercial third parties e.g. insurers and drug research companies.  This has led to individuals claiming that the processing of their personal and clinical data for secondary uses by the NHS is causing them unwarranted distress and therefore the legal basis has been established for individuals to opt-out of having their data processed by the NHS for any secondary uses.

For more information or to access the Opt-out application form, click here.

Freedom of Information

Publication Scheme

Under Section 19 of the Act, the Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has a legal duty to adopt and maintain a Publication Scheme for the publication of Trust information.

This Publication Scheme is the Information Commissioner’s Office approved model scheme and is a complete guide to the information routinely published by the Trust. It is a description of the information about the Trust that is made publicly available. The Trust reviews the Scheme at regular intervals and monitors how it is operating.The Publication Scheme helps individuals to find information which the Trust publishes.

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 was passed as a statute of law to promote greater transparency by public authorities such as NHS Trusts. The Freedom of Information Act does not change the right of patients to protection of their patient confidentiality in accordance with Article 8 of the Human Rights Act, the Data Protection Act 1998 and common law.

Freedom of Information Act 

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 recognises that members of the public have the right to know how public services such as the NHS are organised and run, how much they cost and how to provide feedback about the publication scheme. You have the right to know which services are being provided, the targets that are set, the standards of services that are expected and the results achieved. Since 1st January 2005 the Trust has been obliged under this Act to respond to requests about information which is held and recorded in any form by the Trust.

The rights to request and access this information are subject to a number of exemptions set out by the Act which the Trust has to take into consideration before deciding what information may be disclosed.  For example, the Trust is not required to make information routinely available when:

  • The Trust does not hold the information requested
  • The information is exempt from disclosure under legislation (such as the Freedom of Information Act 2000 or the Data Protection Act 1998), e.g. personal data, confidential information or information that is commercially sensitive
  • The Trust cannot easily access the information and it would take too much time to provide

How to make a Freedom of Information (FOI) request

Before sending us a new request, please check our FOI Disclosure Log in case we have already answered it for someone else.

All requests for information under the Freedom of Information Act must be made in writing either by email to:

or by letter to:

Information Governance
Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
Egerton Road

or online:

Click here

Re-use of information

Re-use of Freedom of Information requests

The Re-use of Public Sector Information Regulations 2015 came into force on 18 July 2015. The legislation requires public bodies to permit re-use of information they produce, hold or disseminate as part of their public task unless the information is restricted or excluded.

What does “re-use of information” mean?:
“Re-use” of information means using the Trust’s information, documents, databases etc. for a purpose other than the initial reason the information was produced for.

Before you make a request
The information you need may already be published on our website and be available for re-use so please check our Re-Use of Freedom of Information (FOI) Disclosure Log.

How to make a request?
If the information you seek is not already published and available for re-use, you can request it by e-mail: or by post to:

Information Governance
Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
Egerton Road

Your request must be made in writing and include your name and postal address. You should also clearly specify which document you require and the purpose for which the document will be used.

How long will it take?
We will respond to re-use requests promptly and no later than by the 20th working day beginning with the day after receipt. Where the requested documents are extensive in quantity or the request raises complex issues, we may take longer to respond to a request. In such cases, we will notify you of the estimated delay time before the original due date.

Is there a charge for re-use of information?
You will normally be allowed to re-use our information free of charge. However, we may ask you to pay a licence fee if it is justified by specific circumstances (e.g. a significant cost of making the information available for re-use; our contractual obligations towards third parties; or the type of information). Any applicable fees would be calculated in accordance with Regulation 15 of the Re-use of Public Sector Information Regulations 2015, and we would notify you what factors were taken into account in the calculation of the charge.

How can I use the information?
As a default, we will allow re-use of our information under the Open Government Licence v3.0 (OGL). Please follow the link and read the terms of the licence to learn what you can and cannot do with the information. If OGL is not appropriate (e.g. because of the type of information), we will notify you what conditions of re-use will apply.

Can we refuse permission to allow re-use of our information?
We will usually allow you to re-use our information.  However, your request will be refused if:

  • access to the legislation is restricted or exempt under the information access legislation (i.e. the Data Protection Act 1998, Freedom of Information Act
    2000 or Environmental Information Regulations 2004);
  • the information you asked for is not held by the Trust as part of its public task;
  • a third party owns intellectual property rights to the information; or
  • the information contains personal data which must be protected.

Feedback on the Trust Publication Scheme

Any questions, comments or complaints about this Publication Scheme should be sent in writing to the Information Governance Manager:

Information Governance Manager
Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
Egerton Road


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