Wiltshire Poisonings - Ambulance Alert and responses

Peter Beswick made this Freedom of Information request to South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

Dear South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust,

Please could you let me know

What time was the ambulance service alerted?

When were ambulances despatched? (each)

When did they arrive on the scene? (each)

When did they depart the scene? (listing details for each patient, and those that did not convey patients(s))

When did each patient arrive at hospital?

For incidents in Salisbury on the 4th March 2018 and Amesbury 30th June 2018

What vehicle(s) was/were involved in the Amesbury Ambulance Station closure / army involvement? Please give details.

Yours faithfully,

Peter Beswick

Information Governance, South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust

1 Attachment

Dear Peter,

 

Thank you very much for your email.

 

Our senior management team have advised that any Freedom of Information
requests related to the Salisbury incident should be directed to the
Police in the first instance.

 

The dedicated email address for any such enquiries is as follows;

[1][email address]

 

Please accept my apologies for any inconvenience caused.

 

Kind regards,

Clare Lunk | Assistant Information Governance Manager
South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust

 

Direct Line 01392 261 603 | Web [2]www.swast.nhs.uk | E-Mail
[email address]

Trust Headquarters, Abbey Court, Eagle Way, Exeter, EX2 7HY, TrustHQ

 

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]
2. http://www.swast.nhs.uk/

Dear South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust's handling of my FOI request 'Wiltshire Poisonings - Ambulance Alert and responses'.

There is no provision in the FoIA as far as I know to off-load your lawful responsibility to a third party. I am asking for the information from you, if you want to ask the police lawyers how you should respond that is entirely up to you (if unworthy).

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,

Peter Beswick

Dear Information Governance,

I submitted a FoiR on the 22nd Dec 2018

And further requested an Internal Review on the 28th December 2018

A response in now well overdue, you have not responded in any manner

Please give me an Urgent Update on what your intention is regarding this matter

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/w...

Yours Sincerely

Peter Beswick

Information Governance, South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust

1 Attachment

Dear Peter

 

Internal review of your Freedom of Information Request (FOI 2918)

 

I am writing to update you regarding the outcome of the Trust’s internal
review of the decision to refer the information you requested under the
Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) to the Police.  Thank you for your
patience during this process, and please accept my apologies that we were
not able to provide a response to you more quickly.

 

The review panel consisted of two Executive Directors; the Trust’s
Executive Medical Director (and appointed Caldicott Guardian) and the
Trust’s Director of Operational Services.

 

Outcome

 

Following a careful review of all of the circumstances surrounding this
incident and your request, the panel have decided to withhold the
information you are seeking in line with the exemptions explained within
this email.

 

The review process – consideration of the Trust’s original response

 

Upon receiving your request for an internal review, the Trust contacted
the Police again for updated advice. The Police confirmed that they are
happy for organisations to manage their own Salisbury related-FOIs in the
first instance. NB: For accountability and transparency purposes it should
be noted at this point that the Police did not stipulate what information
we should or should not release; the expectation remained that we would
make this decision ourselves in line with our normal FOI working practices
and expectations.

 

In preparation for the Director review process the Trust also consulted
with our Head of Emergency Preparedness, Resilience and Response – a
senior manager within our organisation with overarching responsibility for
the management of significant incidents such as Salisbury and Amesbury.

 

Information being sought – a review of FOIA guidelines and applicable
exemptions

 

The panel considered ICO exemption guidelines and case studies and agreed
that there were several very relevant FOIA exemptions which needed to be
considered in this case.

 

Section 24 – Safeguarding National Security

 

SWASFT are aware (and it is has also been published in the media) that the
Salisbury and Amesbury incidents are under investigation by
counter-terrorism units within the UK and across wider security services.

 

The initial attack targeted two Russians, one believed to be an
intelligence agent. As such this incident is of diplomatic sensitivity in
terms of the relations between the UK and Russia, and indeed matters of
terrorism, counter-terrorism, and espionage on an international stage. 

 

The ICO advises that:

 

‘National security includes more than the security of the UK, its military
defence and its systems of government, it also involves co-operation with
other states in combating international terrorism and guarding against
actions targeted at other states which may impact on the UK and its
people.’

 

‘action against a foreign state may be capable indirectly of affecting the
security of the UK’

 

‘reciprocal co-operation between the UK and other states in combating
international terrorism is capable of promoting the United Kingdom’s
national security.’

 

[1]https://ico.org.uk/media/1174/safeguardi...

 

‘11. It is not necessary to show that disclosing the information would
lead to a direct or immediate threat to the UK. In a time of global
terrorism our national security can depend on cooperating with others.
This can involve protecting allies, cooperating with other countries in
the fight against terrorism, as well as building relations with other
prospective allies. This means that the exemption can be engaged to
prevent a disclosure that would have adverse consequences for one of these
partners even if disclosure would not result in a direct or immediate risk
of attack on the UK or its citizens.’

 

Consequently, we believe that disclosure of information relating to the
Salisbury Incident could potentially jeopardise national security and it
is in the public interest (‘the public interest test’) that this
information is withheld to protect the UK and its citizens.

 

Section 38 (Endangering Health & Safety) & Section 40 (Confidential
Information)

 

The ICO state:

‘Where there is an increased risk of a terrorist attack the information
may be protected by section 38 which provides an exemption for disclosures
that could endanger someone’s physical or mental health. Where the
disclosure could assist terrorists targeting a specific individual, there
may be grounds for considering the application of section 40 which
protects the personal data from inappropriate disclosure.’

 

Sergei and Yulia Skripal survived the Salisbury attack and are described
in the media as ‘currently in hiding’.
[2]https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-.... Whilst measures may
be in place to protect their current location from attackers It is
plausible that they may be subject to future assassination attempts. The
Trust has a duty to safeguard information relating to these two
individuals which could be used to cause further harm.

 

Section 38 also applies more widely; the potency of an agent gas such as
Novichok has the potential to endanger the safety of any individual.
Information about the Salisbury incident could be used to help plan a
future attack in the UK of this nature and cause harm to other
individuals. The Trust therefore believes that withholding information
about the Salisbury incident also passes the ‘public interest test’; with
a view to protecting the health and wellbeing of the general public.

 

Next steps

 

We appreciate that this may not be the response that you had hoped for but
hope that it provides an explanation of the panel’s reason for deciding to
withhold the information you are seeking. However, if you remain unhappy
with the Trust’s response to your information request, you have the option
of contacting the Information Commissioner at:

 

Information Commissioner’s Office,

Wycliffe House,

Water Lane,                                 

Wilmslow,

Cheshire.  SK9 5AF

 

Tel: 01625 545 700

Fax: 01625 524 510

 

Kind regards

 

Kind regards,

Clare Lunk | Assistant Information Governance Manager
South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust

 

Direct Line 01392 261 603 | Web [3]www.swast.nhs.uk | E-Mail
[email address]

Trust Headquarters, Abbey Court, Eagle Way, Exeter, EX2 7HY, TrustHQ

References

Visible links
1. https://ico.org.uk/media/1174/safeguardi...
2. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-...
3. http://www.swast.nhs.uk/