Freedom of Information

Freedom of Information

One of the core values of Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust is to be open and accountable and we try to make as much information as possible publicly available on our website and through our Publication Scheme. Other corporate information can be requested under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (‘the Act’).

Who can make a request?

The Act gives individuals and organisations the right to access information held by the Trust. Any person requesting information has the following rights:

  • To be informed, in writing, whether the Trust holds the information
  • To have the information communicated to him/her

If any of the requested information is to be refused, the Trust must provide applicants with a Refusal Notice clearly stating the reasons why the information is being withheld and clearly detailing the appeals process.

The Trust must respond to requests within twenty working days. This may be extended where the Trust has to contact an applicant to clarify the request, a payment of a fee is required or an extension of time is permitted by the Act.

Freedom of Information and Data Protection

Freedom of Information concerns corporate information. Data Protection concerns personal data. If you wish to make a request to access your personal data (including health records), please use the following link to contact the relevant department: http://www.swbh.nhs.uk/patients-visitors/while-you-are-here/what-happens-to-my-information/

How to make a request

Valid Freedom of Information requests must:

  • Be made in writing (email is acceptable)
  • Include the applicant’s name and address (an email address is sufficient)
  • Detail the information required

If you would like to make a request for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, please email swb-tr.SWBH-GM-FOIRequests@nhs.net or submit your request in writing to:

Head of Corporate Governance/FOI Lead

Trust Headquarters

Sandwell General Hospital

Lyndon

West Bromwich

B71 4HJ

Where requests do not contain sufficient information to proceed, applicants will be contacted and asked to provide further information. The 20 working day deadline will not commence until the necessary information has been received by the Trust.

Fees

In most cases information will be provided free of charge. The Trust may refuse a request if it estimates the cost of fulfilling the request will exceed 18 hours’ work (£450). If this is the case, applicants will be issued with a Fees Notice.

Where the fee limit is not exceeded, disbursement charges such as postage and photocopying, may be passed to the applicant. Applicants will be notified where this applies.

Publication Scheme

Our Publication Scheme offers a complete guide to the information routinely published by Sandwell & West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust. It is a description of the information about our Trust which we make publicly available. We review the scheme at regular intervals and monitor its operation. It is important to us that this scheme meets your needs and we have designed it to be a route map so that you can easily find information about the Trust.

Under section 19 of the Act the Trust has a legal duty to adopt and maintain a Publication Scheme for the publication of information. The purpose of the Act is to promote greater openness by public authorities (of which, Sandwell & West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust is one). The Trust has adopted the model Publication Scheme for NHS acute trusts approved by the Information Commissioner’s Office.

The Publication Scheme can be downloaded here: Publication Scheme and Trust Governance Structure

If you require a hard or electronic copy of our Publication Scheme please contact Head of Corporate Governance/FOI lead at the above address or swb-tr.SWBH-GM-FOIRequests@nhs.net Please note, a cost may be incurred, see the below section ‘Charges’.

Alternatively, you can see the Publication Scheme and obtain copies of the Request for Information Form from the PALS (Patient Advice and Liaison Service) offices at the entrance to City Hospital and Sandwell General Hospital (please see webpages How to Find Us for directions to the hospitals).

Charges

There is a cost to receive hard or electronic copies of the Publication Scheme or the individual sections (known as classes). In summary, the charges are:

  • Single copy of the Publication Scheme or class without the various attachments – no charge
  • Single hard copy of the Publication scheme or Class including the various attachments – £10
  • Single CD copy of the Publication Scheme or Class including the various attachments – £10

Costs for multiple copies will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

The charges will be regularly reviewed.