Register of payments from pharmaceutical companies to staff

Peter J Gordon made this Rhyddid Gwybodaeth request to Orkney NHS Board

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

Mae'r ymateb i'r cais hwn yn hwyr iawn. Yn ôl y gyfraith, ym mhob amgylchiad, dylai Orkney NHS Board fod wedi ymateb erbyn hyn. (manylion). Gallwch gwyno drwy yn gofyn am adolygiad mewnol.

8 May 2013

Dear Orkney NHS Board,
Hospital trusts are reportedly meant to keep a register of payments from pharmaceutical companies (and other relevant companies) to staff, in case of conflicts of interest [1]. I am requesting a copy of the register for this Trust - which I would hope includes details of all relevant payments to staff and any related potential conflicts of interest. If it would be possible to have this information in an appropriate structured data format - for example, a CSV file - this would be helpful. If this Trust does not have a complete register, I would request: the release of the information on this topic that the Trust does hold; and an explanation of why the Trust does not hold a complete register.

I am aware that some would view data on pharmaceutical funding as personal data for those staff receiving the funding. Even if some of the information on this register may be classed as personal data (although this is contestable - for example, in some sectors of academia information re funding sources is made public as a matter of course) it would be covered by paragraph 6 of Schedule 2 of the Data Protection Act. The release of these data is "necessary for the purposes of legitimate interests pursued by the data controller or by the third party or parties to whom the data are disclosed" [2]. Spurling et al's systematic review of how information from pharmaceutical companies impacts physicians' prescribing reported that, of the studies included which looked at total promotional investment, three "found that total promotional investment was positively associated with prescribing frequency...Two...found both positive results and no association...One study did not detect an association" [3]. There is thus a legitimate interest in releasing this register: the available research suggests that it is plausible that payments received influence how public money is spent and the type of care provided to members of the public.

For the reasons given above, there is a strong public interest in releasing this information. While "requests for the personal data of a third party are exempt under section 40(2) of the Freedom of Information Act...if disclosure would contravene section 10 of the Data Protection Act, the right to prevent processing likely to cause damage or distress" [2], I would argue that, even if some of those named in these documents feel that their release would cause them damage or distress, this is outweighed by the significant public interest served by releasing these data.

Yours Faithfully,

Dr Peter J. Gordon

[1] http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2013/a...
[2] http://www.justice.gov.uk/downloads/info...
[3] http://www.plosmedicine.org/article/info...

Ammended letter.

Dear Orkney NHS Board,
Hospital Boards are reportedly meant to keep a register of payments from pharmaceutical companies (and other relevant companies) to staff, in case of conflicts of interest [1]. I am requesting a copy of the register for this Board - which I would hope includes details of all relevant payments to staff and any related potential conflicts of interest. If it would be possible to have this information in an appropriate structured data format - for example, a CSV file - this would be helpful. If this Board does not have a complete register, I would request: the release of the information on this topic that the Board does hold; and an explanation of why the Board does not hold a complete register.

I am aware that some would view data on pharmaceutical funding as personal data for those staff receiving the funding. Even if some of the information on this register may be classed as personal data (although this is contestable - for example, in some sectors of academia information re funding sources is made public as a matter of course) it would be covered by paragraph 6 of Schedule 2 of the Data Protection Act. The release of these data is "necessary for the purposes of legitimate interests pursued by the data controller or by the third party or parties to whom the data are disclosed" [2]. Spurling et al's systematic review of how information from pharmaceutical companies impacts physicians' prescribing reported that, of the studies included which looked at total promotional investment, three "found that total promotional investment was positively associated with prescribing frequency...Two...found both positive results and no association...One study did not detect an association" [3]. There is thus a legitimate interest in releasing this register: the available research suggests that it is plausible that payments received influence how public money is spent and the type of care provided to members of the public.

For the reasons given above, there is a strong public interest in releasing this information. While "requests for the personal data of a third party are exempt under section 40(2) of the Freedom of Information Act...if disclosure would contravene section 10 of the Data Protection Act, the right to prevent processing likely to cause damage or distress" [2], I would argue that, even if some of those named in these documents feel that their release would cause them damage or distress, this is outweighed by the significant public interest served by releasing these data.

Yours Faithfully,

Dr Peter J. Gordon

[1] http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2013/a...
[2] http://www.justice.gov.uk/downloads/info...
[3] http://www.plosmedicine.org/article/info...

FOIRequests (NHS ORKNEY), Orkney NHS Board

1 Atodiad

FOI Request – Acknowledgment of Receipt

 

I hereby acknowledge receipt of the request detailed below.

 

+------------------------------------------------------------------------+
|Your Query: |
| |
|  |
| |
|Amended letter. |
| |
|  |
| |
|Dear Orkney NHS Board, |
| |
|  |
| |
|Hospital Boards are reportedly meant to keep a register of payments from|
|pharmaceutical companies (and other relevant companies) to staff, in |
|case of conflicts of interest [1]. |
| |
|  |
| |
|1)    I am requesting a copy of the register for this Board - which I |
|would hope includes details of all relevant payments to staff and any |
|related potential conflicts of interest. |
| |
|·         If it would be possible to have this information in an |
|appropriate structured data format - for example, a CSV file - this |
|would be helpful. |
| |
|·         If this Board does not have a complete register, I would |
|request: the release of the information on this topic that the Board |
|does hold; and an explanation of why the Board does not hold a complete |
|register. |
| |
|     |
| |
|I am aware that some would view data on pharmaceutical funding as |
|personal data for those staff receiving the funding. Even if some of the|
|information on this register may be classed as personal data (although |
|this is contestable - for example, in some sectors of academia |
|information re funding sources is made public as a matter of course) it |
|would be covered by paragraph 6 of Schedule 2 of the Data Protection |
|Act. The release of these data is "necessary for the purposes of |
|legitimate interests pursued by the data controller or by the third |
|party or parties to whom the data are disclosed" [2]. Spurling et al's |
|systematic review of how information from pharmaceutical companies |
|impacts physicians' prescribing reported that, of the studies included |
|which looked at total promotional investment, three "found that total |
|promotional investment was positively associated with prescribing |
|frequency...Two...found both positive results and no association...One |
|study did not detect an association" [3]. There is thus a legitimate |
|interest in releasing this register: the available research suggests |
|that it is plausible that payments received influence how public money |
|is spent and the type of care provided to members of the public. |
| |
|     |
| |
|For the reasons given above, there is a strong public interest in |
|releasing this information. While "requests for the personal data of a |
|third party are exempt under section 40(2) of the Freedom of Information|
|Act...if disclosure would contravene section 10 of the Data Protection |
|Act, the right to prevent processing likely to cause damage or distress"|
|[2], I would argue that, even if some of those named in these documents |
|feel that their release would cause them damage or distress, this is |
|outweighed by the significant public interest served by releasing these |
|data. |
| |
|  |
|------------------------------------------------------------------------|
|Reference number allocated to this request: |
| |
|  |
| |
|2013 - 158 |
| |
|  |
| |
|(Please quote this reference number in any future correspondence |
|relating to this request.) |
| |
|  |
|------------------------------------------------------------------------|
|The official date of your request is*:  |
| |
|  |
| |
|09/05/2013 |
| |
|  |
|------------------------------------------------------------------------|
|A response should be sent to your request no later than**: |
| |
|  |
| |
|06/06/2013 |
| |
|  |
+------------------------------------------------------------------------+

 

Note: NHS Orkney is a small remote and rural health board within
Scotland.  All responses to Freedom of Information requests are collated
in accordance with the terms of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act
2002.

 

The following extract, taken from the ‘awareness guidance 11’ on the
Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) website, defines these criteria as
follows.  For the full guidance please visit the ICO website –
[1]www.ico.gov.uk.

 

* The 20 working day clock starts:

-       the day after the public authority receives the request -
according to section 10(1) the time limit for compliance is the twentieth
working day following the date of receipt.

or

-       the day the authority receives further information it reasonably
requires in order to identify and locate the information requested.

 

** A public authority must inform the applicant in writing whether it
holds the information requested and if so, communicate that information to
the applicant, promptly, but not later than 20 working days after receipt
of the request

 

Yours sincerely,

Kirsty Sutherland

Freedom of Information Officer

NHS Orkney

Balfour Hospital, New Scapa Road, Kirkwall

Orkney KW15 1BH

Tel: 01856 888 220; Fax: 01856 888 211

FOI E-mail: [2][email address]

[3]www.ohb.scot.nhs.uk

 

I work part-time hours as follows:

Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays - 9:45am to 2:30pm

Thursdays - 9:45am to 12pm

 

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

References

Visible links
1. http://www.ico.gov.uk/
2. mailto:[email address]
3. http://www.ohb.scot.nhs.uk/

FOIRequests (NHS ORKNEY), Orkney NHS Board

2 Atodiad

Please find attached the response to your Freedom of Information request.

 

Regards,

Kirsty Sutherland

Freedom of Information (FOI) Officer

NHS Orkney

Headquarters, Garden House, New Scapa Road,

Kirkwall, Orkney  KW15 1BQ

Tel: 01856 888220

FOI Requests e-mail: [1][NHS Orkney request email]

 

I work part-time hours as follows:

Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays - 9:45am to 2:30pm

Thursdays - 9:45am to 12pm

 

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Dear FOIRequests (NHS ORKNEY),
Thank you for your reply. I quote from your letter "Please find attached a copy of the NHS Orkney Board Register of Interests for 2012/2013.
Note: There have been no payments from pharmaceutical companies."

This is a Register of Interests of NHS Orkney Board members only.

Do you have a Hospitality Register for NHS Healthcare Workers who are not Board members? This is a requirement of the Scottish Government in "A Common Understanding, 2012, Working Together for patients - Guidance on Joint-working between NHS-Scotland and the Pharmaceutical Industry" http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/0040...

Yours sincerely,

Peter J Gordon

FOIRequests (NHS ORKNEY), Orkney NHS Board

Dear Mr Gordon,

I apologise that the response issued was not clear and hope the following will provide clarification.

NHS Orkney is a small remote and rural health board and during 2012/2013 there were no items submitted / received for inclusion in the register of interests for staff members - if there were it would have been given as an appendix to the document you received.

Therefore I can confirm that within NHS Orkney no employees of NHS Orkney received payments from payments from pharmaceutical companies.

It may be of interest to note the following extract from NHS Orkney's Code of Corporate Governance – Standards of Business Conduct for NHS Staff

Gifts: Gifts, which could place an individual in a position of conflict, between their private interests and that required in the execution of their NHS duties should be politely but firmly declined. MEL (1994) 48 provides that staff may accept gifts of low intrinsic value or small tokens of gratitude (such as diaries or calendars). This code deems the acceptable level to be £20. If in doubt, staff must contact their line manager before acceptance.

All gifts accepted within the limit by staff must be declared to their line manager. Managers should on a regular basis provide this information to the Board Secretary for recording in the Register of Gifts and Hospitality.

Regards,

Kirsty Sutherland
Freedom of Information (FOI) Officer
NHS Orkney
Headquarters, Garden House, New Scapa Road,
Kirkwall, Orkney KW15 1BQ
Tel: 01856 888220
FOI Requests e-mail: [NHS Orkney request email]

I work part-time hours as follows:
Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays - 9:45am to 2:30pm
Thursdays - 9:45am to 12pm

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Dear FOIRequests (NHS ORKNEY),
That is most helpful. Thank you.

The Scottish Government in "A Common Understanding, 2012, Working Together for patients - Guidance on Joint-working between NHS-Scotland and the Pharmaceutical Industry" ask that hospitality Registers are open to the public. Can you then forward the link to NHS Orkney's "Register of Gifts and Hospitality"

http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/0040...

Thanks.

Yours sincerely,

Peter J Gordon

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