Hospital Chaplaincy Procedures

Susan Davis made this Rhyddid Gwybodaeth request to Yeovil District Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

This request has been closed to new correspondence. Contact us if you think it should be reopened.

Roedd y cais yn rhannol lwyddiannus.

Dear Yeovil District Hospital NHS Foundation Trust,

I would like to request the following information on standards, policies and procedures relating to hospital chaplains in your Trust.

Could you please:

1. tell me whether policies or procedures exist to:

a. establish whether a patient admitted to any of your hospitals does or does not wish to receive contact from a hospital chaplain

b. ensure that patients (or their visitors, next-of-kin etc.) do not received unsolicited contact from chaplains

c. safeguard patients’ personal and medical data such that hospital chaplains by default do not have access to it

d. ensure that hospital chaplains, when given access to patient data, do not share any of it with third parties

If you answered yes to any of the above, please could you provide me with copies of the relevant policies or procedures

2. outline your approach for monitoring adherence to the policies and procedures above

3. provide me with a summary of the results of this monitoring for the last five years, including rates of compliance with the policies and procedures, and severity of any non-compliance events

4. provide me with details of any action taken in respect of any non-compliance identified (e.g. tightening of procedures, disciplinary action – in the latter case, taking care not to disclose any personal information)

Please could you release this information in electronic form by email via this WhatDoTheyKnow request.

Yours faithfully,

Susan Davis

Dear Yeovil District Hospital NHS Foundation Trust,

I do not appear to have received a reply to my FoI request, nor an acknowledgement that it has been received. If it was received, the 20 day limit has now expired.

Could you please reply to let me know whether the request has been received, and if it has, explain the reason for any delay, and provide me with a projected date by which you expect to be able to respond.

Thank you,

Susan Davis

Dear Yeovil District Hospital NHS Foundation Trust,

I do not appear to have received a reply to my FoI request, nor an acknowledgement that it has been received. If it was received, your reply is now a number of weeks overdue.

Could you please reply to let me know whether the request has been received, and if it has, explain the reason for any delay, and provide me with a projected date by which you expect to be able to respond.

Thank you,

Susan Davis

Dear Yeovil District Hospital NHS Foundation Trust,

I emailed you ten days ago asking for an update on your progress in responding to my FoI request. This response is now nearly a month overdue.

Could you please get in touch to tell me the reason for the delay and give me a date by which I can expect to receive the response.

If you are not able to provide a response by the end of this week, please could you treat this email as a request for an internal review.
Yours faithfully,

Susan Davis

Dear Yeovil District Hospital NHS Foundation Trust,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Yeovil District Hospital NHS Foundation Trust's handling of my FOI request 'Hospital Chaplaincy Procedures'.

You response is now over a month late.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address:
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/ho...

Yours faithfully,

Susan Davis

Sent request to Yeovil District Hospital NHS Foundation Trust again, using a new contact address.

Dear Yeovil District Hospital NHS Foundation Trust,

Please could you confirm that you have received my request and that the problems surrounding the previous email address do not affect this one too.

Thank You,

Susan Davis

To: The Chief Executive, Yeovil District Hospital NHS Trust

CC: Freedom of Information Manager, Yeovil District Hospital NHS Trust, via WhatDoTheyKnow.com

Dear Sir/Madam

On 24 March, I sent a Freedom of Information request to your organisation using the service provided by the WhatDoTheyKnow.com website.

I did not receive a response within the 20-day deadline, and have sent three reminders and an internal review request. The WhatDoTheyKnow.com administrators have also re-sent the request.

You can find the request and subsequent emails here:
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/h...

I notice that there are about ten other long overdue requests lodged at the site, indicating that this is not a one-off problem.

Of the 275 NHS Trusts which I have contacted with this request, Yeovil District Hospital NHS Trust is the only one which has not responded.

This is only the third time, in raising over 600 requests under the Freedom of Information Act or Environmental Information Regulations, that I have needed to contact a public body by post because they were unable to respond via WhatDoTheyKnow.com. There are however many other requests which your staff have answered in the past, and the site is very easy for FoI officers to use. The
Information Commissioner’s guidance confirms that a request submitted by the site is a valid request.

Please could you give this request your urgent attention as it is now two months overdue, and also hold the internal review which I have asked for.

Yours faithfully

Susan Davis

Gadawodd Susan Davis anodiad ()

I have also sent the above by post to the Trust's Chief Executive

Freedom Of Information, Yeovil District Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Dear Ms Davies

First of all I would like to confirm not only that we have received the email you sent yesterday evening, but also the request for information you sent on 5 June 2013. I apologise that we did not send an acknowledgement of the request, we should have done so. The information is just being clarified on a couple of points and then we will be sending it to you.

I need to explain to you that we have not got any record of having received any of your previous emails and having checked the Whatdotheyknow website I am horrified to see that there are a number of other requests we do not seem to have received either. It is certainly not the Trust's policy - or practice - to fail to respond to FOI requests. We take that responsibility very seriously. I am very troubled to know that the website you use has such a list of failed requests.

We have spent some time this morning trying to understand why this situation has arisen. All the requests that are listed as not having received a response appear not to have reached us at all. We are unaware of their existence as requests and have no record of them. Nor do the individuals involved in making sure we respond to requests have any recollection of them.

At the moment we wonder whether the problem may have arisen from a migration from one email system to another which the Trust carried out last year. The particular email addresses that would have received FOI requests were affected in October 2012 and this seems to coincide with the dates from which we failed to respond to requests coming from Whatdotheyknow. I will be asking our IT support about this possibility, but I do not know enough about how Whatdotheyknow works or how our migration may have affected that.

Can you kindly give us the information about the different email address you used on 5 June compared to previously, as we need to understand why this has happened and how we can put it right. Your help in sorting this out would be greatly appreciated.

I sincerely apologise for the immense frustration you must have had in not getting any response from us. I promise you that our response to your email of 5 June will arrive very shortly. I am also concerned that we have not received - and may not yet receive - emails from Whatdotheyknow. I want to remedy that as soon as possible so if you can shed any light on this I would appreciate it.

Yours sincerely

Simon Chase

Simon Chase
Company Secretary
Yeovil District Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
Higher Kingston
YEOVIL
BA21 4AT

[email address]

01935 384348

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Dear Simon,

Thanks for the response. I know very little about how WhatDoTheyKnow is set up technically: they just provide the service for requests to be made, and requesters like me don't need to know about their systems. Can I suggest that you contact them directly via their contact page:

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/help/cont...

The site is run by volunteers and I find them to be unfailingly helpful, so I am sure they will be able to provide the information you need to get to the root cause of the problem.

Yours sincerely,

Susan Davis

Freedom Of Information, Yeovil District Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Dear Susan,

Please see below the answers to your request.

1. tell me whether policies or procedures exist to:
A: The Hospital Trust does not have a formal written policy for Spiritual Care, but does work to procedures. See below

a. establish whether a patient admitted to any of your hospitals does or does not wish to receive contact from a hospital chaplain
A: The process of admission to a ward includes the offer of spiritual care to patients. The more specific care pathway for dying patients offers spiritual care to patients and relatives. This creates an opportunity to request a visit or no contact from a chaplain.

b. ensure that patients (or their visitors, next-of-kin etc.) do not received unsolicited contact from chaplains
A: The Patient Administration System specifically allows for patients to decline to disclose any religious affiliation. A request for no contact is recorded in the area of the Patient Administration System to which chaplains have access.

c. safeguard patients’ personal and medical data such that hospital chaplains by default do not have access to it
A: Chaplains have access to an agreed set of limited personal and medical data. I.T. systems prevent access beyond that set.

d. ensure that hospital chaplains, when given access to patient data, do not share any of it with third parties
A: Chaplains are subject to the same undertakings and disciplinary procedures as all other members of staff in respect of the confidentiality of patient-identifiable information.

If you answered yes to any of the above, please could you provide me with copies of the relevant policies or procedures

2. outline your approach for monitoring adherence to the policies and procedures above
A: Number of patients recorded as “religion not known” is an approximate indicator of how many patients have not been offered spiritual care, or where a patient has been too unwell to indicate their preference. Patient satisfaction questionnaires continuously sample views on the provision of spiritual care.

Weekly chaplaincy team meetings check that support given to patients is appropriate and that chaplains remain aware of any requests for no contact. Continuing feedback from ward staff is a further check.

The monitoring of chaplains’ access to personal and medical data is no different from that of other members of staff.

3. provide me with a summary of the results of this monitoring for the last five years, including rates of compliance with the policies and procedures, and severity of any non-compliance events
A: Statistical data on whether patients have been offered spiritual care are not routinely summarised.
We are aware of no occasions in the last five years where a request for no chaplaincy contact has been breached.
We are aware of no occasions in the last five years where a chaplain has had unauthorised access to personal or medical data.
Such breaches should have been reported by staff using the incident reporting system.

4. provide me with details of any action taken in respect of any non-compliance identified (e.g. tightening of procedures, disciplinary action – in the latter case, taking care not to disclose any personal information)

A: Occasionally the chaplaincy may discern that spiritual care is not being offered consistently on a ward and on such occasions would undertake ad hoc refresher training on those wards on appropriate ways of offering spiritual care, documenting requests , and notifying chaplains.

Kind regards,

Nicola

Nicola Webber
Membership Co-ordinator
Management Office
Level 1
Yeovil District Hospital
Higher Kingston
Yeovil
Somerset
BA21 4AT
01935 384414

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