Private use of NHS equipment 2

S Sabato made this Freedom of Information request to Highland NHS Board

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 Highland NHS Board,

In its initial response to one of my FoI requests made in the summer 2012 – this FoI request was submitted to the Information Commissioner for a decision (Decision 206/2012 http://www.itspublicknowledge.info/appli...), the public authority said that a certain piece of medical equipment I was enquiring about belonged to a private individual and that it was for their personal use only. After having requested to see documentations that demonstrated that that piece of medical equipment (new it should be worth more than £500.00) was actually the property of this individual, the public authority replied by saying that the item was issued to this individual on a temporary basis - seven months have passed since my original enquiry, how does the public authority define “temporary basis”?

Following a further FoI request which, among other things, requested information regarding the use of NHS property or equipment (it took six months and several interventions of the Information Commissioner to obtain a response to this FoI request, Decision 204/2012 http://www.itspublicknowledge.info/appli...), the public authority disclosed a document which did not appear to say anything about the possibility of issuing NHS equipment to private individuals or to members of staff for their personal use. However, some of the instructions found in the document that was released appeared to be leaving space for open interpretations.

Does the public authority have any document where there is mention of instances where NHS property can be issued to private individuals for their personal use? If not, can the public authority please say who within the organization has the authority to interpret the instructions contained in the document that was released, i.e. who has the authority to issue NHS property to private individuals for their personal use? In this particular case, can the public authority please say who authorised the issue of this particular piece of medical equipment to a private individual for their personal use? Was this particular piece of medical equipment requested or offered?

NHS equipment no longer needed but in good working conditions should have their market value determined by an expert and eventually be sold. Was the market value of this piece of medical equipment established? If yes, how much was its market value and who established it? Has the public authority tried to gain a financial benefit from this particular piece of medical equipment by selling it, for example, at an auction, before issuing it for private use? Where does the public authority hold auctions? If no auctions are held, how do people find out when there is NHS equipment available to be taken away for private use?

Yours faithfully,

S Sabato

FOIRequestsHighland (NHS HIGHLAND), Highland NHS Board

Dear Mr Sabato

Thank you for your FOI request.

I will seek the information you request and respond as soon as I receive it.

This will be within the 20 working days target specified by the Freedom of Information ( Scotland) Act 2002.

Please note if you have any further queries regarding this FOI please email at [NHS Highland request email] quoting the above reference.

Yours sincerely

Christina

Christina MacDonald
PA to Maimie Thompson/FOI Administrator
Public Relations & Engagement
NHS Highland Assynt House, Beechwood Park, Inverness IV2 3BW

Telephone:01463 704927 | Email: [email address]

I work Mon - Thurs

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Oliver Kenny (NHS HIGHLAND), Highland NHS Board

Dear Mr Sabato

I am responding to your Freedom of Information request below

Picking up each question in turn:

Temporary Basis - there is no set definition of temporary basis, this will depend on the circumstances, and could mean from days to indefinitely.

Use of NHS property by private individuals - there is no documentation where this is set out.

In this particular case, as previously outlined, this piece of equipment was no longer suitable for its original purpose and would have a very limited market value and would cost more to sell than it is worth.

The decision as to whether equipment is surplus would lie with the line manager who would have budget responsibility for the equipment. In this case it was available for disposal.

Very little NHS equipment becomes surplus to requirements before the end of its useful life. Often equipment may be cannibalised for spares, perhaps passed on to Charity or just scrapped. Also where equipment is being replaced, companies supply new equipment may take the old equipment as a trade in. On very rare occasions where equipment is no longer required but may still have a useful life - a sealed bid process has taken place and this would either be advertised in local press or on the staff intranet.

I hope this information is helpful. If you are unhappy with my response, I am very happy to discuss this with you further. Alternatively you have the right to ask for a review through making a formal complaint, about the way in which I have dealt with your request for information, by writing to the Chief Executive, c/o The Complaints Team, NHS Highland, PO BOX 5713 Inverness, IV1 9AQ or via email at [email address] . If you remain dissatisfied following the investigation of your complaint, then you have the right to appeal to the Scottish Information Commissioner within 6 months of the date of receiving a response to your complaint.

Yours sincerely,

Kenny Oliver
Board Secretary

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From: S Sabato[SMTP:
Sent: 02 March 2013 16:30:15
To: FOIRequestsHighland (NHS HIGHLAND)
Subject: Freedom of Information request - Private use of NHS equipment 2
Auto forwarded by a Rule

Dear Highland NHS Board,

In its initial response to one of my FoI requests made in the
summer 2012 - this FoI request was submitted to the Information
Commissioner for a decision (Decision 206/2012
http://www.itspublicknowledge.info/appli...),
the public authority said that a certain piece of medical equipment
I was enquiring about belonged to a private individual and that it
was for their personal use only. After having requested to see
documentations that demonstrated that that piece of medical
equipment (new it should be worth more than £500.00) was actually
the property of this individual, the public authority replied by
saying that the item was issued to this individual on a temporary
basis - seven months have passed since my original enquiry, how
does the public authority define "temporary basis"?

Following a further FoI request which, among other things,
requested information regarding the use of NHS property or
equipment (it took six months and several interventions of the
Information Commissioner to obtain a response to this FoI request,
Decision 204/2012
http://www.itspublicknowledge.info/appli...),
the public authority disclosed a document which did not appear to
say anything about the possibility of issuing NHS equipment to
private individuals or to members of staff for their personal use.
However, some of the instructions found in the document that was
released appeared to be leaving space for open interpretations.

Does the public authority have any document where there is mention
of instances where NHS property can be issued to private
individuals for their personal use? If not, can the public
authority please say who within the organization has the authority
to interpret the instructions contained in the document that was
released, i.e. who has the authority to issue NHS property to
private individuals for their personal use? In this particular
case, can the public authority please say who authorised the issue
of this particular piece of medical equipment to a private
individual for their personal use? Was this particular piece of
medical equipment requested or offered?

NHS equipment no longer needed but in good working conditions
should have their market value determined by an expert and
eventually be sold. Was the market value of this piece of medical
equipment established? If yes, how much was its market value and
who established it? Has the public authority tried to gain a
financial benefit from this particular piece of medical equipment
by selling it, for example, at an auction, before issuing it for
private use? Where does the public authority hold auctions? If no
auctions are held, how do people find out when there is NHS
equipment available to be taken away for private use?

Yours faithfully,

S Sabato

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show quoted sections

Dear Highland NHS Board,

Thank you for your response.

The public authority says that this piece of medical equipment would have a very limited market value, but from the response that it has been given it does not appear that its market value had actually been established by an independent expert – if it is being used by someone privately, it must be presumed that this piece of equipment has still a useful life, and it should be worth some money. In addition, it is still not clear if the private use of this piece of equipment was requested or offered.

Furthermore, transfer of ownership of an item should be recorded. This is to legally demonstrate who the new owner is and to free the previous owner from any responsibility towards the item – in my almost eight months enquiry the public authority has never provided one single document to support its many explanations on this particular piece of equipment.

(The definition of “temporary” given by the highly regarded Oxford English Dictionary: “Lasting for a limited time; existing or valid for a time (only); not permanent; transient; made to supply a passing need.“)

Yours faithfully,

S Sabato