Introduction

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Freedom of Information (FoI)

What is the Freedom of Information Act?

The Freedom of Information Act recognises that as a member of the public, you have the right to know how public services such as the NHS are organised and run, how much they cost and how you can make complaints if you need to. You have the right to know which services are being provided, the targets that are being set, the standards of services that are expected and the results achieved.

From 1 January 2005, the Freedom of Information Act allowed anyone to request information held by the Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust.

Under the Act, the Trust is obliged to respond to requests about this information. It is recorded in any form, and creates a right of access to that information. The rights to request and access this information are subject to some exemptions which the Trust will deal in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act Code of Practice and guidance from the Information Commissioner's Office.

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What is the Data Protection Act?

Under the Data Protection Act 1998, you are entitled to access your clinical records or any other personal information held about you. To do this, you should contact:

The Medico-Legal Clerk
C/o Medical Records
Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust
Hermitage Lane
Kent
ME16 9QQ

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I want to find out something about the Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust

Before making a formal request to the Trust, please check our website to make sure that the information isn't already available. Our Publication Scheme has most of the information routinely asked for by members of the public. If the information you require is not held on our website, you can contact us in the following ways.

Write to us at:

Freedom of Information Officer
Trust Headquarters
Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust
Hermitage Lane
Kent
ME16 9QQ

Fax a request to us on 01622 226416 or email our FOI office at MTW-TR.FOIadmin@nhs.net

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When will my request be answered?

Upon receipt of your request, the Freedom of Information Team will immediately send you an acknowledgement letter. The team will deal with your request as promptly as possible and is under a legal obligation to provide a response within 20 working days.

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Will there be a charge for my request?

In dealing with any request for information under the Act the Trust is able to charge fees in accordance with the Freedom of Information Fee Regulations. For the most part we will charge you only for hard copies or copying onto media such as DVD or CD-ROM. The charges will vary according to how information is made available and the staff time required to create the copy.

The costs to be taken into account by the Trust when determining any fee to be charged are:

  • The prescribed costs - meaning any costs reasonably incurred by the Trust in determining whether it holds information of the description specified in the request, in locating and retrieving any such information, and in giving effect to any preference expressed by the applicant as to the means of communication of such information. This includes the cost of associated staff time, but does not include the cost of staff time incurred in determining whether the Trust is obliged to comply with the request for information; and
  • The disbursements - meaning any costs directly and reasonably incurred by the Trust in informing the applicant whether it holds information of the description specified in the request and in communicating any such information.

The Trust does not have to comply with a request for information if it estimates that the cost of complying with the request would exceed the appropriate limit which is £450 based on the Department of Justice regulations of a notional cost of 18 hours work at £25.00 per hour).

Where the cost of complying with a request exceeds the appropriate limit, the Trust may still decide to comply with the request. In this case the Trust shall follow one of the following arrangements:

  • Provide the information at no charge
  • Charge the full cost
  • Charge the difference between the total cost and the appropriate limit

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What do I do if I am dissatisfied with the Trust's response?

In the first instance you should appeal directly to the Trust in line with our FOI appeal process - download a copy of the appeals process document, alternatively you can writ to us or you can email us at MTW-TR.FOIadmin@nhs.net if you would like a copy to be sent to you.

If you remain dissatisfied following the appeals process, you have the right under section 50 of the Act to apply to the Information Commissioner to seek resolution to the matter.

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