FOIA request: Register of payments from pharmaceutical companies to staff

Jonathan Mendel made this Freedom of Information request to Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

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

The request was partially successful.

Dear Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust,

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 Jonathan Mendel

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

AccesstoInformationOffice (WIRRAL UNIVERSITY TEACHING HOSPITAL NHS FOUNDATION TRUST), Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Our Ref:            LMS/CC/JT/Access.35666-04-13

 

 

Dear Dr Mendel

 

We acknowledge receipt of your request for information received in this
office on 12^th April 2013.

 

Please note, as the Freedom of Information Act requires us to produce your
requested information within 20 working days, any information we hold will
be sent out by 13^th May 2013

 

In accordance with the Act no charge is applicable unless the costs
involved exceed £450.00.  You will be advised if a charge is appropriate
before the information is sent to you.

 

Please be aware that it is important that you advise us at the time of
each new application if you wish to re-use the information we provide for
commercial purposes.  When you receive our completed response and are
satisfied with the information provided we would be grateful if you could
email us to officially request re-use and for what purpose.  

 

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

 

Carmel Calvert

Access to Information Manager

Information Governance Department

Wirral University Teaching Hospital

Main Switchboard - 0151 678 5111

Internal Ext - 8477

Fax - 0151 604 7394

Internal Fax - 8639

 

Please be advised of new email address:
[Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust request email]

 

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The information contained in this e-mail may be subject to public
disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Unless the
information is legally exempt from disclosure, the confidentiality of this
e-mail and your reply cannot be guaranteed. Any views or opinions
presented are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent
those of Wirral University Teaching Hospital. If you are not the intended
recipient, be advised that you have received this e-mail in error and that
any use, dissemination, forwarding, printing or copying of this email is
strictly prohibited. If you have received this e-mail in error please
notify the sender.

 

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AccesstoInformationOffice (WIRRAL UNIVERSITY TEACHING HOSPITAL NHS FOUNDATION TRUST), Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Our Ref:            LMS/CC/JT/Access.35666-04-13

 

 

Dear Dr Mendel

 

 

Further to your request for information in accordance with the Freedom of
Information Act, may we apologise that we have not provided this
information within the designated time frame.

 

Unfortunately, we are still awaiting the information from senior managers
supplying the response on behalf of the Trust and would therefore,
respectfully request an extension of two weeks in order to fully complete
your application. Our final response will now be sent out before 28^th May
2013.

 

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

 

Sent by Jan Taylor behalf of Lin Snow

Information Governance / Records Manager

Information Governance Department

Wirral University Teaching Hospital

Main Switchboard - 0151 678 5111

Internal Ext - 8477

Fax - 0151 604 7394

Internal Fax – 8639

 

 

P Save Paper - Do you really need to print this e-mail?

 

Please be advised of new email address:
[1][Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust request email]

 

The information contained in this e-mail may be subject to public
disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Unless the
information is legally exempt from disclosure, the confidentiality of this
e-mail and your reply cannot be guaranteed. Any views or opinions
presented are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent
those of Wirral University Teaching Hospital. If you are not the intended
recipient, be advised that you have received this e-mail in error and that
any use, dissemination, forwarding, printing or copying of this email is
strictly prohibited. If you have received this e-mail in error please
notify the sender.

 

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AccesstoInformationOffice (WIRRAL UNIVERSITY TEACHING HOSPITAL NHS FOUNDATION TRUST), Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Our Ref:            LMS/CC/JT/Access.35666-04-13

 

 

Dear Dr Mendel

 

 

Further to our recent email to you dated 13^th May 2013, may we advise
that you request is still being processed and our final response will be
with you shortly,

 

Please accept our profuse apologies for the continued delay

 

 

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

 

Sent by Jan Taylor on behalf of Lin Snow

Information Governance / Records Manager

Information Governance Department

Wirral University Teaching Hospital

Main Switchboard - 0151 678 5111

Internal Ext - 8477

Fax - 0151 604 7394

 

Please be advised of new email address:
[1][Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust request email]

 

P Save Paper - Do you really need to print this e-mail?

 

The information contained in this e-mail may be subject to public
disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Unless the
information is legally exempt from disclosure, the confidentiality of this
e-mail and your reply cannot be guaranteed. Any views or opinions
presented are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent
those of Wirral University Teaching Hospital. If you are not the intended
recipient, be advised that you have received this e-mail in error and that
any use, dissemination, forwarding, printing or copying of this email is
strictly prohibited. If you have received this e-mail in error please
notify the sender.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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AccesstoInformationOffice (WIRRAL UNIVERSITY TEACHING HOSPITAL NHS FOUNDATION TRUST), Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

6 Attachments

  • Attachment

    Response for 35666.pdf

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    Ap 35666 Corporate Services Register of Hospitality Casual Gifts Sponsorship.pdf

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    Ap 35666 Diagnostics Division Register of Hospitality Casual Gifts Sponsorship.pdf

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    Ap 35666 Medical Specialties Division Register of Hospitality Casual Gifts Sponsorship.pdf

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    Ap 35666 Surgical Division Register of Hospitality Casual Gifts Sponsorship.pdf

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    Ap 35666 Women and Children s Division Register of Hospitality Casual Gifts Sponsorship.pdf

    45K Download View as HTML

Our Ref:            LMS/CC/JT/Access.35666-04-13

 

 

Dear Dr Mendel

                                                  

 

 

Please find attached our response to your recent request for information
in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act.

 

We also would like to offer our sincere apologies again for the delay you
have experienced in receiving this information.

 

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

 

Sent by Jan Taylor on behalf of Lin Snow

Information Governance / Records Manager

Information Governance Department

Wirral University Teaching Hospital

Direct Dial - 0151 604 7120

Main Switchboard - 0151 678 5111 Ext 8477

Fax - 0151 604 7394

 

Please be advised of new email address:
[1][Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust request email]

 

P Save Paper - Do you really need to print this e-mail?

 

The information contained in this e-mail may be subject to public
disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Unless the
information is legally exempt from disclosure, the confidentiality of this
e-mail and your reply cannot be guaranteed. Any views or opinions
presented are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent
those of Wirral University Teaching Hospital. If you are not the intended
recipient, be advised that you have received this e-mail in error and that
any use, dissemination, forwarding, printing or copying of this email is
strictly prohibited. If you have received this e-mail in error please
notify the sender.

 

 

 

 

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1. mailto:[Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust request email]

Jonathan Mendel

Dear Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust,

Thanks for your response to my FOI request. Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of the Trust's handling of my FOI request 'Register of payments from pharmaceutical companies to staff'.

Staff names are absent from the information released. Even if staff names may be classed as personal data (as defined by the Data Protection Act) they 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" [1]. 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" [2]. There is thus a legitimate interest in releasing this register: the available research suggests that it is plausible that payments received influence how substantial amounts of public money is spent and the type of care provided to members of the public. Making these data public will open up further opportunities for academic and journalistic research on the impacts of payments and hospitality. It is important to include the names of those declaring interests: among other benefits, this will allow more effective scrutiny of Conflicts of Interest and could allow more extensive analysis: for example, it has been suggested that one could compare declarations on these registers with Conflict of Interest statements on open access pubmed papers.

For the reasons given above, there is a strong public interest in releasing these data in full. 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" [1] 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 Jonathan Mendel

[1]
http://www.justice.gov.uk/downloads/info...
[2]
http://www.plosmedicine.org/article/info...

AccesstoInformationOffice (WIRRAL UNIVERSITY TEACHING HOSPITAL NHS FOUNDATION TRUST), Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Our Ref:                LMS/CC/JT/Access.35666-04-13

 

 

Dear Dr Mendel

 

We acknowledge receipt of your request for an Internal Review received in
this office on 28^th June 2013

 

We will contact you again shortly.

 

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

 

Sent by Jan Taylor on behalf of Lin Snow

Information Governance / Records Manager

Information Governance Department

Wirral University Teaching Hospital

Direct Dial - 0151 604 7120

Main Switchboard - 0151 678 5111 Ext 8477

Fax - 0151 604 7394

 

Please be advised of new email address:
[1][Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust request email]

 

P Save Paper - Do you really need to print this e-mail?

 

The information contained in this e-mail may be subject to public
disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Unless the
information is legally exempt from disclosure, the confidentiality of this
e-mail and your reply cannot be guaranteed. Any views or opinions
presented are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent
those of Wirral University Teaching Hospital. If you are not the intended
recipient, be advised that you have received this e-mail in error and that
any use, dissemination, forwarding, printing or copying of this email is
strictly prohibited. If you have received this e-mail in error please
notify the sender.

 

 

 

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1. mailto:[Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust request email]

AccesstoInformationOffice (WIRRAL UNIVERSITY TEACHING HOSPITAL NHS FOUNDATION TRUST), Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

6 Attachments

Our Ref:            LMS/CC/JT/Access.35666-04-13

 

 

Dear Dr Mendel

 

 

Please find attached our response to your recent request for an internal
review.

 

 

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

 

Sent by Jan Taylor on behalf of Lin Snow

Information Governance / Records Manager

Information Governance Department

Wirral University Teaching Hospital

Direct Dial - 0151 604 7120

Main Switchboard - 0151 678 5111 Ext 8477

Fax - 0151 604 7394

 

Please be advised of new email address:
[1][Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust request email]

 

P Save Paper - Do you really need to print this e-mail?

 

The information contained in this e-mail may be subject to public
disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Unless the
information is legally exempt from disclosure, the confidentiality of this
e-mail and your reply cannot be guaranteed. Any views or opinions
presented are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent
those of Wirral University Teaching Hospital. If you are not the intended
recipient, be advised that you have received this e-mail in error and that
any use, dissemination, forwarding, printing or copying of this email is
strictly prohibited. If you have received this e-mail in error please
notify the sender.

 

 

 

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