nhs.net addresses within FPH

Dr Neil Bhatia made this Freedom of Information request to Frimley Park Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

The request was successful.

From: Dr Neil Bhatia

10 January 2009

Dear FPH

I would like to make further requests under the FOI Act.

For the purposes of the Act, the date of your receipt of this
request will be 12th January.

As you are aware, the use of nhs.net email addresses is the only
BMA and Department of Health approved email service for securely
exchanging clinical data between NHS users. Whilst many (if not
all) local GPs have nhs.net email addresses, I note that the
Consultants' secretaries at FPH all continue to use the
@fph-tr.nhs.uk email domain.

As a result, us local GPs cannot securely communicate with our
Consultant colleagues by email where that includes
patient-identifiable details. We can neither enquire about,
communicate about or send useful information concerning our
patients to a medical secretary by email, nor can they send us
useful information such as results, clinic letters, advice or
discharge summaries by email. In 2009, this seems a ludicrous
scenario, especially for such a technologically-enlightened
foundation trust.

As you must know, Spire Clare Park Hospital - where many of your
NHS Consultants work privately as well - allows GPs to refer both
private and NHS patients by nhs.net email.

My requests for information are thus:

• Is FPH intending to issue its medical secretaries with nhs.net
email addresses, in order to allow such useful (and some might say
vital) email communication about patients both between FPH and
local GPs as well between FPH and the NHS in general? If so, when?

• Is FPH intending to set up an nhs.net address (or addresses) to
allow local GPs to refer patients securely by email (as opposed to
letter or fax)? If so, when?

Please note that I am neither commenting on, nor seek your opinions
on the "Choose and Book" system (which once I used but have since
long-abandoned).

As per Section 4a of Part 1 of the FOI Act
(
http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts2000/ukp...
) I would like the information in question held at the time when my
request is received (draft or otherwise), except that account may
be taken of any amendment or deletion made between now and the
latest time by which the information is to be communicated to me,
being an amendment or deletion that would have been made regardless
of the receipt of my request.

I would be grateful if you would be kind enough to send me the
requested information promptly and in any event not later than the
twentieth working day following the date of receipt of my request -
that is by then end of the working day of 9th February.

If my request is denied in whole or in part, or specific items
within the responses are withheld from disclosure, then you must
justify all deletions by reference to specific exemptions of the
act, as per Section 17 of the Act
(
http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts2000/ukp...
). Where you rely on a qualified exemption to withhold disclosure,
you are obliged to consider the public interest in your decision
and the refusal notice must explain not only which exemption
applies and why, but also the public interest arguments addressed
in reaching the decision.

I wish to receive the information by email; I believe such a
request would be reasonable in these circumstances. As per Section
11 of Part 1 of the FOI Act (
http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts2000/ukp...
) I would be grateful if you would "so far as reasonably
practicable give effect to that preference"; if you determine that
it is not reasonably practicable to comply with this preference
then you are required by law to notify me of the reasons for your
determination.

The “return address” (to which the information that I have
requested be should be sent ) is the email address that this
particular request originates from (i.e. ending in
'@whatdotheyknow.com'). I am not using my nhs.net address for this
communication...!

I would be grateful if you would kindly acknowledge receipt of this
request as recommended by the ICO (“It would be good practice to
acknowledge receipt of requests and to refer to the 20 working day
time limit, so that applicants know their request is being dealt
with”).

Thank you once again.

Yours sincerely,

Dr Neil Bhatia (local GP)

Link to this

From: Nicola Gould
Frimley Park Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

13 January 2009


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Trust Ref: FOI-011-09

Dear Dr Bhatia,

Re: Request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000

The Trust acknowledges your request for information received on 10^th
January 2009. The Freedom of Information Act 2000 requires the Trust to
respond within 20 working days, which in this instance is 6^th February
2009.

However, we will endeavour to send you the information as soon as possible
unless we do not hold it or unless it falls within one of the exemptions
laid down in the Act.

We will advise you if your request falls into any of these categories.

Yours sincerely

Nicola Gould

Information Governance Manager

01276 604675 (direct dial)

[email address]

show quoted sections

Link to this

From: Nicola Gould
Frimley Park Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

5 February 2009


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My Ref: FOI - 011 - 09

Dear Dr Bhatia,

In response to your FOI request submitted to the Trust on 12^th January
2009 (in italics), the Trust has responded in Blue Text.

As you are aware, the use of nhs.net email addresses is the only

BMA and Department of Health approved email service for securely

exchanging clinical data between NHS users. Whilst many (if not

all) local GPs have nhs.net email addresses, I note that the

Consultants' secretaries at FPH all continue to use the

@fph-tr.nhs.uk email domain.

As a result, us local GPs cannot securely communicate with our

Consultant colleagues by email where that includes

patient-identifiable details. We can neither enquire about,

communicate about or send useful information concerning our

patients to a medical secretary by email, nor can they send us

useful information such as results, clinic letters, advice or

discharge summaries by email. In 2009, this seems a ludicrous

scenario, especially for such a technologically-enlightened

foundation trust.

As you must know, Spire Clare Park Hospital - where many of your

NHS Consultants work privately as well - allows GPs to refer both

private and NHS patients by nhs.net email.

My requests for information are thus:

o Is FPH intending to issue its medical secretaries with nhs.net

email addresses, in order to allow such useful (and some might say

vital) email communication about patients both between FPH and

local GPs as well between FPH and the NHS in general? If so, when?

The Trust does not plan to routinely issue nhs.net email addresses to its
medical secretaries. The Trust is developing guidance for staff on the
methods available to them for the secure emailing of patient information
e.g. fully encrypted. Part of the guidance will recommend the usage of
NHS.net mail accounts. This guidance is except from disclosure, under
section 22 - Information intended for future publication.

o Is FPH intending to set up an nhs.net address (or addresses) to

allow local GPs to refer patients securely by email (as opposed to

letter or fax)? If so, when? Please see response above. However, the
Trust will encourage staff to liaise with its local stakeholders e.g. GP's
to set up and establish secure communication channels to assist with the
management of patient care.

Please note that I am neither commenting on, nor seek your opinions

on the "Choose and Book" system (which once I used but have since

long-abandoned).

If you are unhappy with the Trust's response then in the first instance
you can appeal to the Trust. For contact details and a copy of our FOI
appeal policy, please see our website or email
[1][email address]

If you remain dissatisfied about the decision taken regarding the Freedom
of Information Act 2000, you have the right under section 50 of the Act,
to apply to the Information Commissioner to seek resolution to the matter.
Further details can be found on their website: [2]www.ico.gov.uk

If remain dissatisfied about the decision taken regarding the Re-use of
Public Sector Regulations 2005, you have the right, under section 18 of
the Regulations to apply to the Office of Public Sector Information to
seek resolution to the matter. Further details can be found on their
website: [3]www.opsi.gov.uk

Please note that the information provided is the property Frimley Park
Hospital NHS Trust and subject to Intellectual Property and Database
Rights. Any commercial application or use of this information may be
subject to the provisions of the Re-use of Public Sector Information
Regulations 2005. This means that if you wish to re-use the information
provided for commercial purposes for any reason you must ask us for
permission to do so. Should we agree that you can use the information it
will be subject to the issue of a licence which may or may not involve a
fee. If you have any questions about this process please contact me.

You can find out more about the Act and other information resources
released by the Trust on our website at: [4]www.frimleypark.nhs.uk

Yours sincerely

Nicola Gould

Information Governance Manager

Tel: 01276 604675 (ext 4675)

Frimley Park Hospital NHS Foundation Trust cannot accept responsibility for the security or accuracy of outgoing electronic mail. Any view or opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not represent the view of the Trust unless specifically stated.
The information contained in this e-mail may be subject to public disclosure under UK Legislation. Unless the information is legally exempt from disclosure, the confidentiality of this e-mail, and your reply cannot be guaranteed.
The contents of this e-mail are intended for the addressee or the person responsible for delivering it to the intended addressee. It may contain privileged or confidential information and/or copyright material. If you have received this e-mail in error, please advise the sender immediately by using the reply facility on your e-mail software or notify the Head of Information Governance on +44 (0)1276 604675

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]
2. http://www.ico.gov.uk/
3. http://www.opsi.gov.uk/
4. http://www.frimleypark.nhs.uk/

Link to this

From: Dr Neil Bhatia

5 February 2009

Dear Nicola ,

Thank you for this.

You state:

"The Trust is developing guidance for staff on the methods
available to them for the secure emailing of patient information
e.g. fully encrypted. Part of the guidance will recommend the usage
of NHS.net mail accounts. This guidance is except from disclosure,
under section 22 - Information intended for future publication. "

I draw your attention to the ICO's guidance:
http://www.ico.gov.uk/upload/documents/l...

Could you kindly let me know when you think this guide will be
published (for the terms of the Act, that means publicly available,
e.g. on your web site).

If you have no intention of making this guide publicly available
then it is not exempt under the Act. "published" does not just mean
printed.

Could you confirm if the guide is complete, and if not when it is
likely to be?

Either way, I shall request it under the Act in due course.

Thank you.

Yours sincerely,

Dr Neil Bhatia

Link to this

From: Nicola Gould
Frimley Park Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

12 February 2009

Dear Neil Bhatia,

I have checked your website in relation to the FOI requests that have been
submitted to the Trust and can find to trace of the request

"I would like to request a complete list of contractors and consultants
that the trust uses on new builds and refurbishments".

Therefore, if you would like to resubmit your request, the Trust will the
request in line with the Freedom of Information Act.

Additionally, if you received an acknowledgement, a copy of such would be
appreciated to enable us to track where this FOI request was sent.

Kind Regards

Nicola Gould

Information Governance Manager

Tel: 01276 604675 (ext 4675)

Frimley Park Hospital NHS Foundation Trust cannot accept responsibility for the security or accuracy of outgoing electronic mail. Any view or opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not represent the view of the Trust unless specifically stated.
The information contained in this e-mail may be subject to public disclosure under UK Legislation. Unless the information is legally exempt from disclosure, the confidentiality of this e-mail, and your reply cannot be guaranteed.
The contents of this e-mail are intended for the addressee or the person responsible for delivering it to the intended addressee. It may contain privileged or confidential information and/or copyright material. If you have received this e-mail in error, please advise the sender immediately by using the reply facility on your e-mail software or notify the Head of Information Governance on +44 (0)1276 604675

Link to this

From: Nicola Gould
Frimley Park Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

12 February 2009

Dr Neil,

The Trust has followed the Information Commissioners guidance fully on
this exemption.

Therefore, to respond to your queries:

The Trust is not able to provide a date on when this guidance will be
published as. The guidance clearly states that an authority does not
have to provide a date is a date is not available.

The Trust fully understands that "to publish" does not mean "just mean
printed ". The guidance will be fully published to staff once it is
completed.

Kind Regards

Nicola Gould

Information Governance Manager

Tel: 01276 604675 (ext 4675)

show quoted sections

Link to this

From: Dr Neil Bhatia

12 February 2009

Dear Nicola,

Thank you, I will request the guidance in due course.

Yours sincerely,

Dr Neil Bhatia

Link to this

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