Investigations Ordered by Alan Milburn Following Criminal Convictions of GPs

Wendy Hesketh made this Freedom of Information request to Department of Health and Social Care

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

Response to this request is long overdue. By law, under all circumstances, Department of Health and Social Care should have responded by now (details). You can complain by requesting an internal review.

Dear Department of Health,

Can you please tell me:

1) How many investigations following the criminal convictions of GPs were ordered by Alan Milburn in his time as Health Secretary?

2) Which type of investigation was carried out in each case, e.g. full public inquiry; hybrid inquiry, CHI investigation, internal (e.g. Health Authority) investigation.

I have tried, but have been unable to to find this information elsewhere. Please note the "criminal convictions of GPs" focus of my question.

Yours faithfully,

Wendy Hesketh

Department of Health and Social Care

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If your enquiry is about a medical matter, please contact NHS Direct on
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For general health information you may also find it helpful to refer to
[3]Directgov, the UK Government's Official information website, or the
Department of Health website's [4]Frequently Asked Questions.

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References

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2. http://www.nhs.uk/
3. http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/index.htm
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Department of Health and Social Care

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Dear Department of Health,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Department of Health's handling of my FOI request 'Investigations Ordered by Alan Milburn Following Criminal Convictions of GPs'.

It might be easier for you to review this request along with my other on-going request ('Investigations into Criminal GPS Ordered by Whom?').

I seem to have received some sort of message attached as a .HTML attachment via the Whattotheyknow.com website, however, I cannot read this.

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

I would like an answer to this question under the FOI Act. The Department should be able to answer it.

Yours faithfully,

Wendy Hesketh

Department of Health and Social Care

Thank you for contacting the Department of Health.
This is an acknowledgement - it does not require a response.
Where a reply is appropriate we aim to send one within 20 working days.
If you have contacted the Department of Health about a current health or
social care campaign, please visit the [1]Department's website where a
response may have been published.

If your enquiry is about a medical matter, please contact NHS Direct on
0845 4647 or visit [2]NHS Choices, or contact your GP surgery.

For general health information you may also find it helpful to refer to
[3]Directgov, the UK Government's Official information website, or the
Department of Health website's [4]Frequently Asked Questions.

show quoted sections

Communications via the GSi may be automatically logged, monitored and/or
recorded for legal purposes.

References

Visible links
1. Department's website
http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/FAQ/index.htm
2. http://www.nhs.uk/
3. http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/index.htm
4. http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/FAQ/index.htm

Ben Harris left an annotation ()

I don't know why you can't read DH's reply -- choosing "Download" should allow you to view the "Long Email Body". Anyway, here's the substantive part of the response:

The Department does not centrally keep a record of inquiries set up following criminal convictions of GPs. However, this information can be accessed from information already available publicly. Section 21 of the FOI Act enables public authorities to refer applicants to information that is accessible by other means. The King’s Fund Information & Library Service provides details of Department of Health publications via its online catalogue, and this can be searched to find details of inquiries into health services. The catalogue can be accessed from the King’s Fund website:
http://www.kingsfund.org.uk/library/

You may also find it helpful to know that the British Medical Journal has published a table summarising major inquiries from 1969 to 2001 in the following article:

Walshe, Kieran and Higgins, Joan. (2002). ‘The use and impact of inquiries in the NHS’, BMJ [Electronic]; vol. 325, pp. 895-900.
Available online: http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/325/...

You may also find it helpful to search the Department’s website for information relevant to your request. With regard to your first query, I am providing you with details of two inquiries below, details of which are available on the Department’s website.

The Shipman Inquiry was set up in January 2001, following the conviction of Harold Shipman. This was a public inquiry which finished reporting in January 2005. Further details are available at the following link:

http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/Publicationsands...

There was also an independent investigation into how the NHS handled allegations about the conduct of Clifford Ayling. This was a modified private inquiry, which was commissioned originally on 13 July 2001 and reported on 15 July 2004 . Further details are available at the following link:

http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/Publicationsands...

Dear Department of Health,

I have written to you, asking for an internal review of the handling of my FOI request(s) from the Department. Further to those requests, in which you replied that I should seek the information from a BMJ paper or the Kings Fund (neither of which have the information asked for), I would also like to point out that publicinquiries.org - the first and only freely available resource on public inquiries - does not contain the information I requested from you either: I want details of all DoH investigations (including such statutory inquiries) into GPs who committed crimes against patients, such as e.g. the CHI investigation into Loughborough GP Peter Green.

I remain convinced that only the Dept. of Health holds this information and should therefore fully respond to my FOI request.

Yours faithfully,

Wendy Hesketh

Department of Health and Social Care

Thank you for contacting the Department of Health.
This is an acknowledgement - it does not require a response.
Where a reply is appropriate we aim to send one within 20 working days.
If you have contacted the Department of Health about a current health or
social care campaign, please visit the [1]Department's website where a
response may have been published.

If your enquiry is about a medical matter, please contact NHS Direct on
0845 4647 or visit [2]NHS Choices, or contact your GP surgery.

For general health information you may also find it helpful to refer to
[3]Directgov, the UK Government's Official information website, or the
Department of Health website's [4]Frequently Asked Questions.

show quoted sections

Communications via the GSi may be automatically logged, monitored and/or
recorded for legal purposes.

References

Visible links
1. Department's website
http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/FAQ/index.htm
2. http://www.nhs.uk/
3. http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/index.htm
4. http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/FAQ/index.htm

Dear Department of Health,

I am still awaiting your response. Can you please answer my request?

Yours faithfully,

Wendy Hesketh

Department of Health and Social Care

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Sent a follow up to Department of Health and Social Care again.

John Cross left an annotation ()

I don't really understand why Department of Health is suggesting this email cannot be used when it is the one they publicise here: http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/FreedomOfInforma...

[last email has been resent]

Department of Health and Social Care

It is no longer possible to contact the Department of Health through the
DHMail email address. Your email has not been read.

If you would like to contact the Department of Health, please click on the
following contact us link: http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/ContactUs

You can write to the Department using the web contact form on the 'How to
contact the Department of Health' page.

- - Disclaimer - -
This e-mail and any files transmitted with it are confidential. If you are
not the intended recipient, any reading, printing, storage, disclosure,
copying or any other action taken in respect of this e-mail is prohibited
and may be unlawful. If you are not the intended recipient, please notify
the sender immediately by using the reply function and then permanently
delete what you have received.

Incoming and outgoing e-mail messages are routinely monitored for
compliance with the Department of Health's policy on the use of electronic
communications. For more information on the Department of Health's e-mail
policy click here http://www.dh.gov.uk/terms

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Wendy Hesketh left an annotation ()

Thanks, John. You at least reminded me to chase this up! I have used the online form on the Dept. Of Health's website on their 'Freedom of Information' link and pasted the history of the request from 'whatdotheyknow.com'.

Hopefully, I'll now get a reply. I will paste any reply back to this site if I do.

Ben Harris left an annotation ()

Note that using "send follow up" on the original request is likely still to work. It's only the reply address on the earlier messages that's been disabled (as far as I know).

Dear Department of Health,

The response to my request - 'Investigations Ordered by Alan Milburn Following Criminal Convictions of GPs'-
is long overdue. By law, under all circumstances, the Dept. of Health should have responded by now.

Can you please provide me with the information I requested on 7th December 2010?

Here is a copy of that request:

'Dear Department of Health,

Can you please tell me:

1) How many investigations following the criminal convictions of GPs were ordered by Alan Milburn in his time as Health Secretary?

2) Which type of investigation was carried out in each case, e.g. full public inquiry; hybrid inquiry, CHI investigation, internal
(e.g. Health Authority) investigation.

I have tried, but have been unable to to find this information elsewhere. Please note the "criminal convictions of GPs" focus of my question.'

For your information, the King's Fund does NOT hold this information, nor does the academic paper on inquiries by Keiran Walshe et al.

Yours faithfully,

Wendy Hesketh

Wendy Hesketh left an annotation ()

Thanks for that, Ben. I've tried to use the 'follow-up' as you suggested.

D. Speers left an annotation ()

Keep asking Wendy, its the 'difficult to access info' that's of most interest. If DH have the information, they have a legal obligation to release it or tell you what exclusions they are applying.
Maybe a visit to The ICO site http://www.ico.gov.uk/ will clarify the detail.

Wendy Hesketh left an annotation ()

Thanks, D. Speers! Making these FOI requests does take a bit of practice to get right, so your link was really helpful. Your own requests have interested me too - keep up the good work! :}

Department of Health and Social Care

1 Attachment

Dear Ms. Hesketh,

Please see attached the Department of Health's Internal Review of your
Freedom of Information requests.

Yours sincerely,

Freedom of Information Officer
Department of Health

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Communications via the GSi may be automatically logged, monitored and/or
recorded for legal purposes.

Wendy Hesketh

FAO Colin McDonald
Casework Manager
Department of Health FOI Team

Dear Mr McDonald,

REF: IR573892

Thank you for conducting a review of the DoH's handling of my FOI requests. I accept your apologies made within your letter (IR573892.pdf) about your department's failings in good practice, however, despite this lengthy response, I am still without any of the information I asked for. I still think your department would benefit from feedback. I attempt to give you some here.

You mention that the DoH's dealing with my request had failed the standards of good practice in some areas. I would respectfully suggest that it would also be good practice for you to explain what information your team has unearthed as a result of their "investigations" (which you allude to, but give no detail about) and then advise me how I might best refine my original request in order that it does not exceed the resource limits of the FOI Act. That is, can you tell me how I can help you search for this information best? For example, other organisations, such as the GMC, will tell you what information they have in their database, how the investigator searches and what the limitations to those searches are, e.g. that their database was only set up in 2006.

As it is, I am forced to wait while your staff try to figure out how to try to glean the information I've requested from their "searches" (again, you give no information about the search process which leaves me unable to assist you in narrowing those search parameters).

For example, are you concentrating your search in the years 1999-2003 (when Alan Milburn was Health Secretary)? The Commission for Health Improvement held some of the investigations in my request (e.g. I know it conducted one into former Loughborough GP, Dr Peter Green). You will be aware that the CHI was a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department of Health of the United Kingdom from 2001 until 2004. You will also know that the reports from any inquiries (statutory, at least) would have been delivered to the Health Secretary. Are you searching for correspondence between the Health Secretary and CHI between 1999 and 2003?

Who would conduct and report on non-statutory inquiries - Health Authorities or Primary Care Trusts? For example, in the case of the Finchley GP, Dr. Timothy Healy (who was sentenced to 12 years in prison in September 2002, for drugging and sexually assaulting numerous boys), surely there must have been an NHS investigation? There must be some correspondence from/to the DoH and an NHS organisation to conduct an inquiry into this case?

The police have to report convicted GPs to the General Medical Council. The GMC and police cannot know that there are convicted GPs without the Primary Care Trust knowing, surely? If the PCT knows, does the Dept of Health? But who decides when an investigation in the health service takes place (was it Alan Milburn)? Where does the report of that investigation go (to Alan Milburn)? How long is it kept for? This is the sort of information I need to know.

Thus, unless you give me some information - tell me how and where you are searching, then I cannot possible refine my request in order to assist you. I understand that your department does not have to provide this type of information as part of the FOI Request, but surely it would be good practice if you could give me an idea of how to frame my questions to help you better?

I look forward to hearing back from your department with at least some information of value. I genuinely hope that we can work together to find a solution to this.

Yours faithfully,

Wendy Hesketh