Occupational Health data protection requests

The request was refused by University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.

Dear University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust,
Could you please inform me under this freedom of information request how many members of staff have requested to see their occupational health files under section 7 of the data protection act 1998 in the past 18 months.
1, In how many of these requests was the staff member given full disclosure to their files?
2,How many of these cases did the Trust breach the 40 working day compliance time given for such requests?
3, how many of the above resulted in the staff member contacting the information commissioner with reference to data not being supplied?

Yours faithfully,

Alison Stevens

FOI - Freedom of Information, University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust

Corporate and Legal Affairs - Trust Administration

Our Reference: GB/FOI/12641

11 February 2013

Ms Alison Stevens
([FOI #148267 email])

Dear Ms Stevens,

Request for Information - Occupational Health Data Protection Requests

Thank you for your request for information, as received via email by University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust on 1 February 2013. Please accept my apologies for the delay in acknowledging receipt of your request. Within UHL NHS Trust, Freedom of Information Act requests are managed centrally by the Trust Administration Team.

The Trust will endeavour to provide a response within the required 20 working-day deadline. I will, of course, keep you informed should this not prove possible for any reason. If we require any clarification on your request, we will contact you as soon as possible.

All requesters are advised that the Trust may make a charge for providing the information to them, to cover the cost of photocopying, postage and packaging etc - I confirm that where these costs are below £5.00 in total, no charge will be made. All requesters are also advised that there may also be a charge payable to cover costs of locating the information they have requested, as laid down in the Freedom of Information Act Regulations published by the Government in December 2004. Naturally, if such a charge is to be applied to your request, you will be informed as soon as possible.

Yours sincerely,

Gill Belton
Trust Administrator
University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust

Information contained in emails may be subject to disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, and confidentiality cannot therefore be guaranteed. Please ensure that all emails are accurate and appropriate, and are retained / deleted in accordance with good practice and any policies of the Trust.

If you are not the intended recipient of this email, please inform the sender, delete the email from your system and destroy any copies you may have made.

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Dear FOI - Freedom of Information,
I am writing in response to my recent freedom of information request, just to remind you that you have only 24 hours to respond to my question.
If the timescale is breached, i will be requesting an internal review into the situation.

Yours sincerely,

Alison Stevens

FOI - Freedom of Information, University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust

Corporate and Legal Affairs - Trust Administration

Our Reference: GB/FOI/12641

1 March 2013

Dear Ms Stevens,

Request for Information

Thank you for your email received on 1 February 2013, in which you asked for information regarding occupational health data protection requests. Following discussion with colleagues within the Corporate Nursing directorate, I confirm that the Trust holds information covered by your request.

For information, the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust is one of the biggest and busiest NHS teaching Trusts in the country incorporating Leicester General Hospital, Glenfield Hospital and Leicester Royal Infirmary. The hospitals are staffed by more than 10,000 people serving around one million people across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland, and a further two to three million people from the rest of the UK who come to us for the specialist services we provide. During 2011/12, the Trust treated 1,140,700 (or 3,117 patients per day).

The Trust's response is set out after each of your questions below:-

Could you please inform me under this freedom of information request how many members of staff have requested to see their occupational health files under section 7 of the data protection act 1998 in the last 18 months.

None.

1) In how many of these requests was the staff member given full disclosure to their files?

Not applicable - please see response above.

2) How many of these cases did the Trust breach the 40 working day compliance time given for such requests?

Not applicable - please see response above.

3) How many of the above resulted in the staff member contacting the information commissioner with reference to data not being supplied?

Not applicable - please see response above.

I hope that this response is satisfactory and provides you with the information requested (where available). If you require any further assistance please do not hesitate to contact me. If you are dissatisfied with the Trust's response, you can contact the Director of Corporate and Legal Affairs on Tel. No. 0116 258 8615 to request a copy of UHL's Freedom of Information Act complaints procedure.

In the event that you remain dissatisfied with the way in which the Trust has handled any complaint that you may wish to make, we would advise you of your right to complain to the Information Commissioner at the Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF.

We must advise you that where we have provided information we have done so subject to the provisions of the Re-use of Public Sector Information Regulations 2005. Accordingly you must not re-use this information without having the consent of the Trust. Where the Trust is prepared to provide its consent then it may levy a charge for doing so. Should you wish to re-use documents provided then you must make your request in writing stating your name and your address for correspondence together with the document that you wish to re-use and the purpose for which the information is to be re-used.

Yours sincerely,

Gill Belton
Trust Administrator
University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust

Information contained in emails may be subject to disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, and confidentiality cannot therefore be guaranteed. Please ensure that all emails are accurate and appropriate, and are retained / deleted in accordance with good practice and any policies of the Trust.

If you are not the intended recipient of this email, please inform the sender, delete the email from your system and destroy any copies you may have made.

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Dear FOI - Freedom of Information,
I am requesting an internal review into the Trusts reply with regards to my recent freedom of information request.
I have evidence of at least one former staff member that have had full disclosure to their Occupational health medical files within the last 18 months.
You clearly failed in this case to supply the correct information, and in my opinion the Trust lacks clear transparency.

Yours sincerely,

Alison Stevens

Dear FOI - Freedom of Information,
I am requesting an internal review into the Trusts reply with
regards to my recent freedom of information request.
I have evidence of at least one former staff member that have had
full disclosure to their Occupational health medical files within
the last 18 months.
You clearly failed in this case to supply the correct information,
and in my opinion the Trust lacks clear transparency.

Yours sincerely,

Alison Stevens.

Dear University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust's handling of my FOI request 'Occupational Health data protection requests'.
The trust have failed to answer my freedom of information request correctly, and have failed to give full transparency.
I have full evidence that there answers given are incorrect,

Murray Steve - Assistant Director (Head of Legal Services), University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust

Dear Ms Stevens

 

Your request for an internal review is now being undertaken.

 

Steve Murray

Assistant Director

 

 

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FOI - Freedom of Information, University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust

Alison Stevens

 

Our Reference SM/FOI/12641                 Your Reference
:request-148267-c0e9d681

Date : 15 March 2013

 

Dear Madam

 

INTERNAL REVIEW OF HANDLING OF REQUEST MADE UNDER THE FREEDOM OF
INFORMATION ACT 2000 (the "Act")

 

1. BACKGROUND

 

1.1        On 1st February 2013 the Trust received three requests under
the Act from Alison Stevens. This request was not felt to be linked to the
other two requests and accordingly was treated separately

1.2        The following information was requested:

 

Could you please inform me under this freedom of information request how
many members of staff have requested to see their occupational health
files under section 7 of the data protection act 1998 in the past 18
months.

1, In how many of these requests was the staff member given full
disclosure to their files?

2,How many of these cases did the Trust breach the 40 working day
compliance time given for such requests?

3, how many of the above resulted in the staff member contacting the
information commissioner with reference to data not being supplied?

 

1.3        On 1st March 2013 the Trust replied to the request.

1.4        On 4th March 2013 the Applicant requested an Internal Review. 

 

2.         THE REVIEW

 

2.1        I have now conducted a review of the handling of your request. 
In doing so I have followed the internal procedures of the Trust and have
had regard to all the relevant facts and circumstances.  In particular I
have considered:

2.1.1     The Freedom of Information Act 2000;

2.1.2     The requests dated 1st February 2013 and the response to that
request;

2.1.3     All correspondence and documents including the material which
was provided;

2.1.4     Guidance of the Information Commissioner;

2.1.5     Decision Notices of the Information Commissioner.

 

3          FINDINGS

 

3.1        Procedural Findings

 

3.1.1     The 20 working day statutory timeframe for compliance was
complied with.

3.1.2     The Trust had contacted the Data Protection Officer of the Trust
who has responsibility for Data Protection issues but had not contacted
the Directorate responsible for Occupational Health Records. I have now
done this.

 

3.2        Substantive Findings

 

3.2.1     I am informed by the Occupational Health Department that they
would hold the information requested but that it is not held
electronically. To identify locate and extract the information would
require a manual search of paper records which would exceed 18 hours. 
Accordingly and in reliance of Section 12 of the Act we will not be
processing your request.  The Occupational Health Department estimates
that it would take 2,750 hours to provide the information and would
necessitate a search of approximately 11,000 files.

 

4          GENERAL MATTERS

 

4.1        Occupational health notes are kept for members of staff
employed by UHL NHS Trust.  They are stored within the OH Departments
where they can only be accessed by OH staff.  They are entirely distinct
from Human Resources/personnel/employment records or from clinical notes
kept by UHL in relation to staff who have also been treated as patients of
the Trust.

 

4.2        Any member of UHL staff can access their Occupational Health
notes in the Occupational Health Department if they ask to do so.

 

4.3        UHL staff, or former employees, can also authorise release of
their Occupational Health notes to a solicitor, acting on their behalf, or
to the Trust’s legal department or solicitor acting on behalf of the
Trust.

 

Occupational Health notes are never released by the OH Service unless the
person to whom they relate has given written consent for disclosure for
legal purposes.  This usually occurs in the context of a claim, or
possible claim, relating to an incident, event or health issue which may
be linked to the workplace.

 

4.4        There may be a difference between full disclosure of all the
Occupational Health notes and disclosure only of those notes which relate
to a particular event or incident.  If there is any doubt about the
disclosure which has been requested, clarification is sought by the OH
Service before the notes, or some of them, are released.

 

4.5        The Practice of the Occupational Health Department in relation
to the compilation, storage and release of records is carried out in
accordance with the provisions of Ethics Guidance for Occupational Health
Practice: December 2012, Faculty of Occupational Medicine.

 

4.6        OH endeavour to release appropriately requested OH records
within the time frames they are given and have not been made aware of any
that have exceeded the 40 days or been reported to any commission or other
organisation.

 

4.7        If the Applicant is indeed aware of a case if she would like to
contact me I would look at her individual cause for concern.

 

5.         CONCLUSION

 

I consider that appropriate searches have been made and your request has
now received a proper response.

If you are not content with the outcome of your complaint, you may apply
directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision.  The Information
Commissioner can be contacted at:

Information Commissioner's Office

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

Cheshire

SK9 5AF

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

 

Steve Murray

Assistant Director of Corporate and Legal Affairs

 

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Alison Stevens left an annotation ()

I have just rang uhl and spoken to Steve murrray any staff can get to see their files under section 7 of the data protection act without the need to consult a solicitor or legal department.they can forward a letter to the trust themselves.I am slightly bemused because when I first sent the request in uhl came back and stated that no staff member har requested to see their occupational health files.at all. I had evidence to state that I did know of at least one member of staff had put in to see their files under this clause.thus I asked for an internal review.now they come up with the stance that it will cost them over the allocated amount of money and hours required to give this information which is legally right.but why would they give me the incorrect information in the first place? They should of come back with this in the first place.

Dear FOI - Freedom of Information. I have spoken to Steve Murray this morning regarding my information request.why did the trust give me the wrong information in the first place stating that no staff members had put in to see their occupational health files under section 7 of the data protection act 1998? Why give misleading information in the first place? When the facts are not true.the statement should of been that the trust did not have to comply with the request due to the exemption clause on the grounds that it would cost over the allocated amount of money with regards to manpower to respond correctly to my request .

Yours sincerely,

Alison Stevens

Alison Stevens left an annotation ()

The truth or nothing but the truth I will leave you to decide.I for one am not a liar.

Alison Stevens left an annotation ()

On the 1st March 2013, the Trust did respond, and gave me the incorrect and misleading information.

Alison Stevens left an annotation ()

Are they concluding that their first response was wrong?

CONCLUSION

I consider that appropriate searches have been made and your request has
now received a proper response.

Dear FOI - Freedom of Information,
Could you please confirm that the first answer that you gave to me regarding my recent freedom of information request was wrong?

Yours sincerely,

Alison Stevens

Murray Steve - Assistant Director (Head of Legal Services), University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust

Dear Madam

 

We are unable to confirm that the initial response was correct or
incorrect as we have not identified, located and extracted the information
for the reasons stated in our Response to your request for an internal
review.

 

Steve Murray

Assistant Director and Head of Legal Services

 

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