Access to Information

There are various routes to access information that the Dudley and Walsall Mental Health Partnership Trust holds and it is often difficult to identify HOW you must access the information that you want. The following is a short guide on how to get information you may require and for you to identify which route of access you need to apply.

Access to information to enquire regarding your personal treatment/healthcare

If you are currently in communication with an organisation regarding your health or health care or wish to enquire about the progress of any referrals made to a service you must continue to liaise with the departments and organisations direct by contacting them in the means they provide in their communications with you. For example, if you need to change an appointment you will need to contact the identified person on the letter sent to you informing you of your appointment or contact the person with whom you made the appointment direct.

Access to personal data held, for example, personal information recorded within health records

(Data Protection Act 1998 or The Access to Health Records Act 1990 (Deceased Patients))

The Data Protection Act 1998 allows you to find out what information about you is held on computer and in certain manual records. This is known as “right of subject access”. It applies to your health and social care records. To request access to your personal information you will need to place your request in writing to the Information Governance Team. You are entitled to view you records and if you wish, receive a copy. You should also be aware that in certain circumstances your right to see details in your health records may be limited in your own interest or for other reasons.

The Data Protection Act 1998 does not cover the records of deceased patients. Statutory rights of access to these are contained within the Access to Health Records Act 1990.

More information about access to health records by patients

Access to non personal, corporate business information

(The Freedom of Information Act 2000 – (FOIA 2000 and Environmental Information Regulations 2004))

All NHS organisations need to produce a publication scheme. The purpose of the publication scheme is to inform the public how and when they will make information available. In Dudley and Walsall our information is provided in a variety of formats (e.g. website or hard copy). To make it easier, information contained within a Publication Scheme is divided into classes. These classes provide categories of information (e.g. Human Resources, Financial and Funding information) to help ‘navigate’ the scheme.

If, after browsing the Publication Scheme, you cannot find the information that you would like access to, then from January 2005 the Freedom of Information Act gives a right of access to all types of ‘recorded’ information held by the Organisation (held both electronically and manually) subject to a number of exemptions. A request must be received by the organisation in writing and must contain the name and correspondence address for the applicant. The request must also be legible to the organisation and be capable of subsequent reference to enable the information you require to be located effectively by the organisation. You can, if you wish, express a preferred format that you would like to receive the information in, however, this may be limited by resources available to the organisation and a charge may be passed on to the applicant.

The publication scheme will have a Feedback section identifying a contact name and address for you to forward any individual requests you would like to make to an organisation OR there will be an on-line individual request form available to you from within the Organisation’s web-based Publication Scheme.

For more information about your access rights to information: Information Commissioners Office home web page