Freedom of information

Freedom of Information

The Freedom of Information Act 2000

The Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 2000 came into force on 1 January 2005. The FOI Act gives the public a right to ask for information held by public sector organisations; this includes the NHS.

The FOI Act is overseen by the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO). There is more information about the Act and about the ICO on the Information Commissioner's Office website.

Making a request under the Freedom of Information Act

The FOI Act requires every public authority to have a publication scheme where information is routinely available to the public. You can visit our publication scheme to see if the information you require is already on our website.

If the information you require is not in our publication scheme you can make a Freedom of Information request to see if the information is available. FOI requests must be made in writing and must include the requestor's full name and a return address (email or postal).

You can email your Freedom of Information request to freedomofinformation@uhs.nhs.uk or write to us at the following address:

Freedom of Information officer
Mailpoint 79
University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust
Tremona Road
Southampton
SO16 6YD

What happens when I make a request?

We will make every effort to provide you with the information you have requested.  We may need to ask you a few questions to make sure we know exactly what you want.  We will then check to see if we hold the information you have requested.

If we have the information you will normally be given a copy within 20 working days.  We will try to provide the information in the way you prefer, eg on paper or electronically.

If we do not have the information you have requested we will tell you as soon as possible.  If we can, we will suggest where else you may be able to get it. 

What information will not be provided?

There may be some documents or information that we cannot release.  Examples of information we may not be able to release are:

  • someone else's confidential/personal information
  • a company's trade secrets
  • information given to us in confidence

If we cannot release some or all of the information you have requested we will tell you and explain why.

Is there a charge for information?

As a general rule anything in our Publication Scheme can be downloaded free of charge.  If information won't take long to find and copy it will be free.  If it will take considerable time to gather and provide it, a moderate fee may be charged.

Charges will always be in line with Government regulations.  We will let you know about a charge as soon as we can.  If a charge is payable we will wait for your payment before sending you the information.

Can someone else see my personal information?

The Freedom of Information Act does not change your right to confidentiality.  Your personal information is protected under the Data Protection Act 1998 and will not be shared with anyone who is not entitled to it.

If you want information about requesting a copy of your health record visit right of access to your health records.

Obtaining other information

If you have a simple question you would like answered our Patient Advice and Liaison Service may be able to help you. 

How to request a review

If you are unhappy with the way we handled your request for information you can request an internal review by contacting the Freedom of Information Office via email (freedomofinformation@uhs.nhs.uk) or via post at the following address: 

Freedom of Information officer
Mailpoint 79
Univeristy Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust
Tremona Road
Southampton
SO16 6YD  

The internal review will be carried out by someone who was not involved in the original response.

If you are still unhappy after you receive a response to the internal review you can then take your complaint to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO). More information can be found on the Information Commissioner's Office website.