Freedom of Information Request
Our thanks to Londonwide LMCs’ and LMC Law for this advice to practices
- GP practices are public bodies for the purposes of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and are subject to its requirements. This means that practices are advised to respond within 20 days, failing which they may be reported to the Information Commissioner.
- FOIA requests are only valid if the information is held in a recorded form somewhere in the practice.
- If an opinion is asked for, or information is requested that is NOT already held, then that is not a FOIA request.
- Any information that is not held as part of routine business is not FOIA.
- Any information already published elsewhere need not be disclosed again, but may be “signposted” (eg if the numbers of clinical staff are on the practice website, then “see website”, giving the URL would be acceptable)
- Practices need to look at the requests and see whether the information is already recorded somewhere as part of the practices routine business, if it is then it should be disclosed.
- If the cost of obtaining the requested information is greater than £450 (with staff time costed at £25/hour) then the request may be refused.’