SWAH and use of care agencies

The request was partially successful.

Dear Western Health and Social Care Trust (Northern Ireland),

Please outline the following.

1) Various care agencies have contracts with WHSCT for shifts in SWAH (Enniskillen) but there is an order where the highest on the list gets first refusal.
In the years 2018, 2019, 2020 please outline the top 5 care agencies who were/ are contacted by WHSCT with shifts for SWAH, and in the order from first on the list , to fifth.

2. For the months of Oct 2018, Nov 2018, Dec 2018, Jan 2019, Feb 2019, March 2019, April 2019, please outline the following;

How many shifts were completed and paid for regarding FIRST CHOICE CARE AGENCY STAFF in SWAH, Enniskillen.

3) How much was FIRST CHOICE paid for the months above for work provided in SWAH Enniskillen.

Yours faithfully,

Joan Corrigan

FOI Request, Western Health and Social Care Trust (Northern Ireland)

This e-mail is covered by the disclaimer found at the end of the message.

We acknowledge receipt of your Freedom of Information request (below) which was sent to the Western Health and Social Care Trust (Northern Ireland).  Our reference number for this request is listed in the subject line of this email and should be quoted in any future communications about this request.

We will forward your information request to the relevant manager / department for consideration and will contact you again soon with a Trust response.

Kind Regards

Freedom of Information Office
Western Health & Social Care Trust
Email: [Western Health and Social Care Trust (Northern Ireland) request email]

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FOI Request, Western Health and Social Care Trust (Northern Ireland)

This e-mail is covered by the disclaimer found at the end of the message.

Dear Ms Corrigan

I refer to your Freedom of information request below which we acknowledged today. We issued your request to the service area for consideration and they have asked for some clarification - see below;

- does your request relate to all agencies or is it for a category of staff i.e. nursing, nursing assistants/HCAs, medical, social work. Etc.?

We will put your request on hold until we receive this clarification and we look forward to hearing from you soon.

Kind regards

Freedom of Information Office
Western Health & Social Care Trust
Email: [Western Health and Social Care Trust (Northern Ireland) request email]

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Dear FOI Request,

My request refers to HCAs.

Question one refers to the top 5 care agencies for HCAs in SWAH.

Two refers to FIRST CHOICE for HCAs

Three refers to FIRST CHOICE. HCAs.
Thanks

Yours sincerely,

Joan Corrigan

Dear FOI Request,
Can you please confirm that you received my clarification on this request and are working on a response?

Yours sincerely,

Joan Corrigan

FOI Request, Western Health and Social Care Trust (Northern Ireland)

1 Attachment

This e-mail is covered by the disclaimer found at the end of the message.

Dear Ms Corrigan

I refer to your Freedom of Information (FOI) request below which was received by the Western Health and Social Care Trust on 10th February 2020. Please see attached a Trust response to your request.

Regards

Freedom of Information Office
Western Health & Social Care Trust
Email: [Western Health and Social Care Trust (Northern Ireland) request email]

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Dear FOI Request,

Thank you for your recent response which was quite helpful, however, there are two issues with the answer provided.

1) I asked
" For the months of Oct 2018, Nov 2018, Dec 2018, Jan 2019, Feb 2019, March
2019, April 2019, please outline the following;

How many shifts were completed and paid for regarding FIRST CHOICE CARE
AGENCY STAFF in SWAH, Enniskillen. "

Your response has added up all the shifts when I did not ask you to; my request clearly asks for each month's shift amount separately. Please respond with the separate amount for each month , that is 7 answers ( 7 months.) Thanks.

Also,
In question three, when I asked,

3) How much was FIRST CHOICE paid for the months above for work provided
in SWAH Enniskillen.

..and you provided a table of figures..these figures are helpful, however, you also wrote;

"This is the amount paid to first choice for HCAs in that month but may
not relate to the work undertaken in that month. "

As you have not clarified what you mean by that and it gives a misleading answer - I am asking for clarification. I imagine what you are saying is that FC may be paid by WHSCT in Oct 2018 for work that was done in Sept 2018?

So I will re-phrase and ask for clarity.

Can you please provide me with the figures paid to FC for the work specifically and solely done by FC HCAs in the months as follows;

Amount paid for work done in Oct 2018
Amount paid for work done in Nov 2018
Amount paid for work done in Dec 2018
Amount paid for work done in Jan 2019
Amount paid for work done in Feb 2019
Amount paid for work done in March 2019
Amount paid for work done in April 2019.

Thanks
Sincerely
Joan Corrigan.

FOI Request, Western Health and Social Care Trust (Northern Ireland)

This e-mail is covered by the disclaimer found at the end of the message.

Dear Ms Corrigan

I refer to your email and query below regarding our FOI response issued to you. We have now forwarded this to the service area for consideration and we will contact you again when this has been received.

Kind Regards

Freedom of Information Office
Western Health & Social Care Trust
Email: [Western Health and Social Care Trust (Northern Ireland) request email]

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Dear FOI Request,
Please outline when a response will be forthcoming.

Yours sincerely,

Joan Corrigan

FOI Request, Western Health and Social Care Trust (Northern Ireland)

This e-mail is covered by the disclaimer found at the end of the message.

Dear Ms Corrigan

As advised, your email has been sent to the service area for their consideration and response.

You will be aware of the significant pressures on our health and social care services during this time due to the outbreak of CoVid19 (Coronavirus). We are asking our staff to prioritise their duties as front line health and social care workers.  We believe other duties within their role such as responding to legislative requirements under FoI and the processing of Subject Access Requests will be significantly delayed due to the need to prioritise professional caring duties and respond to the emergency. 

Your request has been logged and in the event that the service are unable to respond at this time, it will be kept on file and it is expected that we will respond as we work to recover many services after the outbreak is over.

Kind Regards

Teresa Molloy
Director of Performance & Service Improvement
Western Health & Social Care Trust

Freedom of Information Office
Email: [Western Health and Social Care Trust (Northern Ireland) request email]

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Dear FOI Request,

Thank you for your response dated 3 April 2020, which is pasted below.

In reference to question two, you stated

"This part of the Trust response was provided by the Primary Care and Older People’s directorate.
This has been reissued to that directorate and we await their response; however as
previously advised"
That was 3 April 2020. It is now 3 May 2020. An internal review has been requested. No update has been provided. Please answer the question as it was requested to be answered. Months not added up. Trust staff have added it up, I never asked for that. I need separate month answers. For SWAH.

Q3
Please outline the invoice totals for the 7 separate months requested. For SWAH.

Also please outline as a general rule, whilst allowing for variances, which date of the month does F Choice normally send invoices to you for work done in SWAH?

What time period does the invoice usually encompass?

And on what date after the invoice is sent, does the Trust normally pay the amount owed. (for SWAH)

Please note, an internal review HAS BEEN REQUESTED

sincerely
Joan Corrigan

3rd April 2020
Joan Corrigan

[[email address]]
Our ref.: FOI/20/061 – UPDATE

Dear Ms Corrigan
RE: Freedom of Information (FOI) request – Use of care agencies in South
West Acute Hospital

We refer to your Freedom of Information request (our ref. FOI/20/061) which was
received on 10th February 2020 and the Trust response issued on 2nd March 2020.
In your follow-up email dated 13th March you raised some queries regarding the Trust
response provided to questions 2 and 3 of your information request.

You were contacted on 25th March and advised that the significant pressures on our
health and social care services during this time due to the outbreak of CoVid19
(Coronavirus) has meant that the Trust is asking our staff to prioritise their duties as
front line health and social care workers. As a result, other duties within their role
such as responding to legislative requirements under the FoI Act will be significantly
delayed due to the need to prioritise professional caring duties and respond to the
emergency. We advised that your request will be kept on file and it is expected that
we will respond as we work to recover many services after the outbreak is over.

In a further email of 26th March you questioned this position on the basis that, in your
view the people who deal with this FOI request work within Finance. You question
how the role of finance staff will be affected by the need for Trust staff to prioritise
their duties as front line health and social care workers.

The Trust would advise that all HSC staff are considered to be key workers and will
be required as part of the flexible workforce to maintain essential services. With
regards to your information request and follow-up queries, we can provide the
following update and clarification at this time.

Freedom of Information (FOI) Office, Western HSC Trust,
Lime Villa, Gransha Park, Clooney Road, Londonderry, BT47 6WJ
e-mail: [email address]

Question 2
I asked " For the months of Oct 2018, Nov 2018, Dec 2018, Jan 2019, Feb 2019,
March 2019, April 2019, please outline the following;

How many shifts were completed and paid for regarding FIRST CHOICE CARE
AGENCY STAFF in SWAH, Enniskillen. "

Your response has added up all the shifts when I did not ask you to; my
request clearly asks for each month's shift amount separately. Please respond
with the separate amount for each month, that is 7 answers (7 months.)
In response to this part of your query, we have already provided you with a total
figure for the 7 months (October 2018 until April 2019) advising that 1459 shifts were
filled by First Choice. We hope this is of some help to you.

We apologise for the confusion however would clarify that the information for this
part of your request is not held by the Trust’s Finance directorate. This part of the
Trust response was provided by the Primary Care and Older People’s directorate.
This has been reissued to that directorate and we await their response; however as
previously advised, we anticipate a delay in providing this additional breakdown as
staff prioritise their duties as front line health and social care workers at this time.

Question 3
In question three, when I asked, How much was FIRST CHOICE paid for the
months above for work provided in SWAH Enniskillen. ..and you provided a
table of figures.. these figures are helpful, however, you also wrote; "This is
the amount paid to first choice for HCAs in that month but may not relate to
the work undertaken in that month".

As you have not clarified what you mean by that and it gives a misleading
answer - I am asking for clarification. I imagine what you are saying is that FC
may be paid by WHSCT in Oct 2018 for work that was done in Sept 2018? So I
will re-phrase and ask for clarity.

Can you please provide me with the figures paid to FC for the work specifically
and solely done by FC HCAs in the months as follows?

Amount paid for work done in Oct 2018
Amount paid for work done in Nov 2018
Amount paid for work done in Dec 2018
Amount paid for work done in Jan 2019
Amount paid for work done in Feb 2019
Amount paid for work done in March 2019
Amount paid for work done in April 2019.

Freedom of Information (FOI) Office, Western HSC Trust,
Lime Villa, Gransha Park, Clooney Road, Londonderry, BT47 6WJ
e-mail: [email address]
We have consulted with Finance on this and would advise that unfortunately the
Trust is unable to provide this further information as our financial systems do not
capture information on the “amount paid for work done in that month”. They only
capture details of invoices paid in that month irrespective of when they related
to. Invoices paid in a particular month can relate to work done in that month, the
previous month and sometimes earlier months.
To provide exactly what you have requested would mean staff manually trawling
through each invoice paid to that supplier which would be an extensive exercise and
would take your request outside the appropriate limit for responding. Section 12 of
the FOI Act (Appropriate Limits and Fees Regulations) provides an exemption from a
public authority's obligation to comply with a request for information where the cost of
compliance is estimated to exceed the appropriate limit (i.e. £450 or 18 hours at £25
per hour).
We are sorry we cannot be of further immediate assistance to you at this time;
however we hope the information already provided in our initial response is helpful.
With regards to your request on 27th March for an Internal Review, again in the
current situation unfortunately this will not be a priority at this time however we will
log this request and will respond when the Trust is in a position to do so as
directorate staff work to recover services after the CoVid19 outbreak is over.

If you remain dissatisfied about how the Trust is handling your request at this time,
you have the right to contact the Information Commissioner’s Office for advice.
Further details will be available at https://ico.org.uk/
Yours sincerely
(Not signed – issued by email)
Freedom of Information Office
Western Health and Social Care Trust

Dear FOI Request,
Below I have included the majority of your email to me on 7 May 2020.

I had outlined to you that whilst FOI staff in the western Trust were claiming massive delays due to the coronavirus, I noted that on the website "what do they know", the trust has answered two FOI requests within the time the were refusing to answer mine in full, due to constraints, they claimed.

I am in full understanding of the stresses teams are under , but have made a few very simple further requests , because WHSCT answered the original question wrong by twisting it, when I was very clear in my explanation of what I needed.
I have also repeatedly asked for an internal review and two months have passed.

You quote

"I can confirm that the Trust has a centralised system for logging requests and these are then sent to the relevant service area for their consideration and response as soon as is practicable, given the other demands which are placed on them at this time. Whilst coordinated through a central point, FOI requests do then go to different departments to prepare responses, and in instances where the information is more readily available or there is capacity to do so, the Trust is able to respond more quickly. Conversely, delays may be much longer in other areas.

I acknowledge there are difficulties in concluding some aspects of your request, however I can assure you that the FOI staff are continuing to follow up on this and will provide you with the additional information as soon as possible.
I would highlight however that the response will be limited to the analysis of invoices that is recorded within the Trust’s electronic systems – which is primarily the amount paid."

I respond,
My request goes back to 9 February 2020.

My (crystal clear) clarification email goes back to 14 April (email sent , not on this site) when all relevant directors were asked directly to respond as soon as possible, that includes Mr Guckian and Mr Brown. Mr Guckian has been emailed by my MLA. These men are responsible, I believe , for Finance and Primary care and older people.

The answers I request do not involve trawling through anything, if accounts are efficient and well kept the answer will take 2 minutes.

On 3 April WHSCT said, of my FOI request, that it had been "re-issued" to the primary care and older peoples directive.

Over one month later, this directive has not clarified anything,

The response requested - internal review -involves both Finance and Primary care.

I will re- state them my requests

I asked " For the months of Oct 2018, Nov 2018, Dec 2018, Jan 2019, Feb 2019,
March 2019, April 2019,

1) how many shifts were completed and paid for regarding FIRST CHOICE CARE
AGENCY STAFF in SWAH, Enniskillen. SEPARATELY, NOT ADDED UP. SEVEN SEPARATE MONTHS.
(that is not hard to decipher)

2) You have more or less stated in your recent email to me that "invoices are simply paid and we don´t know much more than that"

I quote you
" the response will be limited to the analysis of invoices that is recorded within the Trust’s electronic systems – which is primarily the amount paid."

I contest that. I contest that WHSCT don´t know what they are paying First Choice for. And if they don´t know what they are paying them for, ie how much work and how many hours, then the Fermanagh and south Tyrone area should be pretty worried.

FOI have provided figures per month , so I then asked (and this should make things easier for everyone)

" please outline as a general rule, whilst allowing for variances, which date of the month does F Choice normally send invoices to you for work done in SWAH?

What time period does the invoice usually encompass?

And on what date after the invoice is sent, does the Trust normally pay the amount owed. (for SWAH)"

And still, no response.

I am now bringing this matter to the ICO for advice.

Yours faithfully

Joan Corrigan

FOI Request, Western Health and Social Care Trust (Northern Ireland)

1 Attachment

This e-mail is covered by the disclaimer found at the end of the message.

Dear Ms Corrigan

I refer to your queries below which were received by the Western Health and Social Care Trust on 4th May 2020 and also our outstanding response to question 2 (shift breakdown) of our initial response. Please see attached a Trust response.

Regards

Freedom of Information Office
Western Health & Social Care Trust
Email: [Western Health and Social Care Trust (Northern Ireland) request email]

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Dear FOI Request,

1) was that the internal review response?

2) your flagrant and incredible disregard for answering questions is shocking.
The Question;
"What time period does the invoice usually encompass? "

That question asks for a TIME PERIOD with a beginning and an end, for example, beginning of month to the end of month.
YOUR ANSWER;
"The Trust’s PCOP services directorate has advised that invoices refer mostly to
individual shifts unless it is a block booking."
you talk about shifts?

WE ALL KNOW THEY ARE FOR SHIFTS WORKED! That is not the question I asked!

I asked for a time period and you talk about what the money is paid for? This is actually the most deceitful , shambolic, impudent, vindictive and barefaced obstruction I have ever obtained from the WHSCT and that is saying something.

"shifts" is not an indication of time.
It is like asking about fruit and being given an answer about metal.

3) And on what date after the invoice is sent, does the Trust normally pay the
amount owed. (for SWAH)”

I ask on what date/ time in the month and you talk about "quickly after receiving" but you give no indication as to when you normally receive them. And you leave that information out intentionally.

The idea that there is no set time for an invoice deadline, or normal time period after that for payment, which I have asked about, is ludicrous.

I never asked about payment targets. but WHSCT already know that.

If it wasn't for the fact that WHSCT has, year after year been flouting FOI law with me, I would be surprised, but I am not.

And this nonsense comes after a 3 month delay.

Please outline an answer that is not vindictive.
Or
Outline if the Internal Review is finished.

Joan Corrigan