Freedom of Information Act Commissioner gives warning to the NHS

The Health Service Journal (HSJ) has reported that Hounslow primary care trust’s failure to meet its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act was so severe that the information commissioner Richard Thomas served draft High Court papers to force it to reveal information – the first time this has happened under the act.

Mr Thomas said: “The FOI Act must be properly implemented by public bodies – it is not a voluntary scheme that organisations can dip in and out of. I consider that other health trusts and public authorities could usefully learn lessons from this case.”

According to the HSJ, “The central lesson here is that trusts must ensure their procedures for dealing with FOI requests and their records management systems are up to scratch – a lesson Hounslow has learned the hard way.”

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