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Freedom of Information

The Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 2000 gives you the right to obtain information held by public authorities unless there are good reasons to keep it confidential.

The Freedom of Information Act covers:

  • a general right of access to information held by NHS Digital (and HSCIC) subject to certain conditions and exemptions
  • a duty on us to inform any person who requests information whether we hold the information, and to communicate that information to the applicant unless one or more exemptions apply

Before you make a request

You might not need to make a Freedom of Information (FOI) request if we have

  • already published the information
  • previously responded to an FOI request

You can check our website for responses to previous FOI requests.

We have a publication scheme setting out what information we currently release or expect to release.  We also collect and publish data and information from across the health and social care system in England. You may want to check if the information you are looking for is already here.

If you request information from NHS Digital that is already published, we will refer you to the published source.

The about NHS Digital is another section where you can find out information about the organisation.  If the information you require cannot be found there or elsewhere on the website, you can make an FOI request by emailing enquiries@nhsdigital.nhs.uk

What to include

You should provide your name, an email address and the information you want. Please be as concise as possible about the information you want as this will help to answer your request.

If the information is your own personal data, then you should make a subject access request under the Data Protection Act (DPA) 2018, and not under the FOI Act. 

If you want to see copies of your medical records, you should ask your GP or the health setting that provided your care or treatment. We do not hold medical records in the same format as a GP or hospital, for example GP notes, X-rays or scans.   

Learn more about how to access your health records

The information governance team who deal with freedom of information requests are not able to collect or send post from Wednesday 25 March 2020.  We are not able to access our offices due to following government guidance around social distancing.

All freedom of information requests and data subject access requests should be submitted by email. If you have recently sent one in the post you can resubmit by email.  We thank you for your patience and are sure you understand the need to follow government advice. We hope to resume normal service as soon as possible, in line with government guidelines.

You can seek any recorded information that you think NHS Digital may hold.  If the information is environmental, we will respond according to the Environmental Information Regulations (EIR) 2004. You do not have to know if the information you want is covered by the EIR or the FOI Act. When you make a request, we will decide which law applies.

Freedom of information disclosure log

Responses to our requests are regularly published in our disclosure log.

Our obligations

As a public authority we are obliged under the Freedom of Information Act to provide details of our routinely available information.

The Information Commissioner's Office defines how this information should be published in the Model Publication Scheme.

If you make a request and are not satisfied with the way in which we deal with it you may ask us to review any decision we make. If you wish us to carry out a review you should write to us as soon as possible and within 2 months of receiving the response.

Our duty to you

The Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 2000 requires us to:

  • provide information to you about NHS England through a publication scheme
  • provide a guide to this information
  • respond appropriately to requests for information

Freedom of Information compliance statistics

We publish details of our performance on handling Freedom of Information (FOI) requests every three months. 

Environmental Information Regulation requests

The Environmental Information Regulations 2004 allow you to request access to environmental information held by public authorities such as NHS Digital.

The regulations allow access in a similar way to the FOI Act although you can also request information verbally.

You should provide the same type of details as for an FOI request and contact us using the same details.

Last edited: 1 September 2020 4:07 pm