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What is being tested as part of the Corona Virus Testing Roll-out in NI

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Dear Department of Health (Northern Ireland),

Pursuant to FOI Act, I am requesting confirmation from you (as the ultimate body responsible for the health protection interventions for the people of NI) as to which of the following viruses
have been/are/will be included in the corona virus A) testing roll-out and in the B) results analyses across NI as part of the pandemic response.

1) HCov-229E
2) HCov-NL63
3) HCov-HKU1
4) HCov-OC43
5) SARS-Cov1
6) SARS-Cov2

With regards to your response...
Where you may not hold this information, please request this information from the body who does hold this information as this information is in the public interest and is critical for you to carry out your role according to the Nolan Principles of Public Office. Where you only signpost me to another body, please explain your rationale as to not following this up as this information should be held, inter alia, by you as part of your remit.

Where you may not respond to this request pursuant to other statutes of law, please indicate which statutes (including article(s)) is/are invoked in this instance.

Yours faithfully,

Christine Gibson

Dear Department of Health (Northern Ireland),

Following my request sent to you on 29th September 2020, as I have not received any correspondence from you in this regard to date, I would appreciate it if you would acknowledge receipt and confirm when you will respond to the request, given that this information should be readily available and not involve in depth investigations so the date should be imminent and not justify a delay in returning this information nearer he latter part of the four week period.

If there is a problem with returning this information to me sooner I would appreciate an explanation from you in this regard.

Yours faithfully,

Christine Gibson

Dear Department of Health (Northern Ireland),

Further to my FOI request from 29 September and follow up on 11 October 2020, I would like to request an acknowledgement of receipt and to receive an indication of when you are intending to reply to this FOI response that falls within the 20 working days and not to abuse the system and wait until the 20th day to respond with information that you already have access to or to ask for clarification from me at that time.

Once again, if there is a reason why you cannot respond, please indicate with any relevant statute in a prompt response.

Yours faithfully,

Christine Gibson

DoH FOI, Department of Health (Northern Ireland)

Christine

 

I am writing to you to apologise for the ongoing delay in answering your
request for Information submitted on 29 September.

 

As you will understand resources within the Department and wider health
organisations throughout NI, have been stretched over the last number of
months due to ongoing and ever changing Covid19 challenges. A considerable
number of staff have been redeployed from their normal “day jobs” to work
solely on response to the current pandemic.

 

The Department acknowledges public interest in the transparency and
accountability of government, and the immeasurable public interest
associated with the current pandemic and how that affects us all.  We
fully recognise that disclosure of the information you have requested will
give members of the public, like yourself, confidence that decisions are
taken on the basis of the best available information.

 

However at the moment the staff who would be in the best position to
answer your query fully are the very staff engaged in the daily
discussions and consultations with the Minister and the Executive in
considering the most appropriate course of action to steer us through the
current crisis.

 

In the meantime and in an effort to be as helpful as possible, can I
advise you that a lot of information underpinning decisions taken by the
Department and Health Minister, is derived from work undertaken by other
organisations such as [1]SAGE, [2]NISRA and [3]PHA and I have included
links to each of their sites.  Furthermore the [4]Department’s own website
is updated regularly with general advice on Covid19 as well as the
[5]Department’s dashboard with specific Covid19 data which is updated
daily.

 

As well as this the Department is publishing the [6]scientific evidence
behind a number of the decisions taken over the last number of months and
this is due to be added to going forward.

 

I can assure you however that we are still endeavouring to answer your
specific request and will get back to you as soon as possible.

 

Regards

 

Jeff

 

Jeff Burns

Information Management Branch

Department of Health (NI)

 

 

 

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Dear DoH FOI,

I was sent an automatic message from this website to chase your response up as the deadline has passed. If I do not receive a response to my FOI from you before the close of play tomorrow I will be requesting an internal review to be undertaken by someone independent in your organisation.

I look forward to your prompt response.

Yours sincerely,

Christine Gibson

Dear Department of Health (Northern Ireland),

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews who is independent of the correspondence thus far.

I am writing to request an internal review of Department of Health (Northern Ireland)'s handling of my FOI request 'What is being tested as part of the Corona Virus Testing Roll-out in NI'.

This information is already being provided to the media and our Ministers to determine our response measures including lockdowns. It does not seem rational that the Information Branch does not have access to this information when the media, allegedly, are reporting on this information on a daily basis.

On that basis and the fact that the Information Branch should have this information to their disposal in being able to deal with media enquiries, I would like you to investigate why this request has surpassed the 20 working day deadline that, by law, the Department is duty bound to respond.
A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/w...

Yours faithfully,

Christine Gibson

McCann, John (DOH), Department of Health (Northern Ireland)

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    FOI Request DOH2020 0181 Acknowledgement letter for request for IR.DOCX.docx

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Please find attached your acknowledgement letter for your request for an
internal review.

John McCann
Information Management Branch
DoH
Tel: 02890 528218

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Dear McCann, John (DOH),

I have requested an internal review of my request handling by your Department and have received nothing from yourselves in two months; one whole month outside the stipulated deadline to respond. The response should not be time consuming in that the information should be at hand as it is available to the media on a daily basis from your Department.

I therefore remind you to reply to my request as soon as possible and practicable and provide me with the explanation as to why this information has not been provided to me to date when it is being supplied to the media.

Yours sincerely,

Christine Gibson

DoH CDIO, Department of Health (Northern Ireland)

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Ms Gibson,
 
Thank you for your recent enquiry into the progress of the Internal Review
into the handling of your FOI request  DOH-2020-0181.
 
As previously indicated resources within the Department and wider health
organisations throughout Northern Ireland, have been stretched over the
last 10 months due to ongoing and ever changing COVID-19 challenges. A
considerable number of staff have been redeployed from their normal “day
jobs” to work solely on the response to the current pandemic.
 
I have been undertaking additional duties supporting the Department’s work
in response to Covid-19 and have limited opportunities to give your review
the in-depth attention it deserves. However I would hope to be able to
conduct said review soon.
 
 

Brendan G O’Neill
Information & Knowledge Manager
 
CDIO Group
Department of Health - NI  
 
Contact: * [1][email address]
( Tel:    028 905 22190   ( DD: 22190
( Mob:  07887477217

 

 
 
 
 

References

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1. mailto:[email address]

O'Neill, Brendan G. (DoH), Department of Health (Northern Ireland)

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    Final Internal Review Response to FOI Request 2020 0181.pdf

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Ms Gibson,
 
Please find attached a response to your request for an Internal Review of
your FoI request Doh-0181-2020.
 
 
 

Brendan G O’Neill
Information & Knowledge Manager
 
CDIO Group  
Department of Health - NI
 
 

 

 
 
 
 

Christine Gibson

Dear O'Neill, Brendan G. (DoH),

Thank you for your belated response.

Although you have interpreted the request as information that is relevant to the future, I was requesting information that you hold on the subject matter now that confirms which of the viruses have been tested across NI.

I am still awaiting any response for future testing from a person in your Department under BAU but yet not contacted.

Yours sincerely,

Christine Gibson

DoH Covid-19 Directorate, Department of Health (Northern Ireland)

1 Attachment

Ms Gibson,

Please see attached response to your query on COVID - 19

Regards

Covid 19 Response Directorate

We don't know whether the most recent response to this request contains information or not – if you are Christine Gibson please sign in and let everyone know.