Freedom of information requests

Before sending us a new request, please check our disclosure log in case we have answered it for someone else first. We have a list of who does what in the NHS system which may help you identify who holds the information you are looking for.

What is the Freedom of Information Act?

The Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 2000 gives a general right of access to all types of recorded information held by public bodies. Full rights of access were granted in January 2005. Some exemptions do apply which mean you may not be able to access all information. The FOI Act lists exemptions designed to protect personal information and to limit the burden on public authorities however the intention of the FOI Act is to promote openness, transparency and accountability.

It does not give people access to their own personal data (information about themselves) such as their health records or credit reference file. If a member of the public wants to see information that a public authority holds about them, they should make a subject access request under the Data Protection Act 2018.

Who can use request information?

Anyone has the right to make a request for information held by a public authority. You do not have to say why you want the information and you are free to use it for your own purposes, including any non-commercial research you are doing and for the purposes of news reporting. Any other re-use, for example commercial publication, would require the permission of the copyright holder.

Information released by NHS Kernow under the FOI Act may be reused under the Open Government Licence. For more information please email kccg.foi@nhs.net.

What should I do before I make a request?

Before you make a request, it may help to consider the following.

  • Is the information you want already available on our website or in our disclosure log. We also have a publication scheme that may assist with your query.
  • Is the information you want your own personal data? If your request is for information about yourself, such as your medical records, you should make a subject access request under the Data Protection Act.
  • Are we likely to hold the information? It may save you time if you check if it is likely we have the information you want. For example, you may not be sure whether the information you want is held by your district council or the county council. Public authorities must give reasonable advice and assistance to anyone asking for information, so you should feel free to ask for help in making your request.
  • Is the information you want suitable for general publication? The aim of the Freedom of Information Act is to make information available to the general public. You can only obtain information that would be given to anybody who asked for it, or would be suitable for the general public to see.
  • Some information, such as records about a dead relative, or documents you need for legal purposes, may not always be available under the Act. However, you may have a right to see the information you want under other legislation. The public authority holding the information you want should advise you.
What is your request about?

Continuing healthcare

The information you need may already be available on our website, please check our continuing healthcare dashboard where we have collated the most common FOI requests we receive.

Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Primary Care Trust

NHS Kernow was formed on 1 April 2013 and cannot provide information relating to the former primary care trust (2010 to 2013). If you need to contact someone about this information, contact the Department of Health’s legacy team, which is responsible for handling all enquiries relating to the former primary care trust. Email reviews&informationteam@dh.gsi.gov.uk.

GPs, dentists or opticians

NHS Kernow is not responsible for handling FOI requests about GPs, dentists or opticians. If you wish to make a request about these services, please email NHS England at england.contactus@nhs.net or telephone 0300 311 2233.

NHS estates

NHS Kernow is not responsible for handling FOI requests about NHS estates (including community hospitals). If you wish to make a request about these services, please contact NHS Property Services. Email information@property.nhs.uk.

Public health

NHS Kernow is not responsible for handling FOI requests about public health, such as health protection, drug, alcohol and tobacco services and sexual health. If you wish to make a request about these services, please contact Cornwall Council. Email foi@cornwall.gov.uk or telephone 0300 1234 100.

How to make an FOI request

Requests made under the Freedom of Information Act must be made in writing (or via email) other than in very exceptional circumstances. Requests must include the full name and address for correspondence and a description of the information requested. You can say what format you prefer to receive the information in (for example on paper or electronically).

You can email your request to kccg.foi@nhs.net or write to us:

Freedom of information officer, NHS Kernow, Sedgemoor Centre, St Austell PL25 5AS.

We will normally acknowledge the request within 3 working days and respond within 20 working days (subject to conditions and exemptions).

Will I have to pay for the information?

Where information is available via our disclosure log, publication scheme or website, it will generally be provided free of charge. If you are accessing documents via our website, the only charges that apply will be those levied by your internet service provider. We will not usually make a charge for providing hard copies of information, but may make a charge for copying onto other media.

If a fee is payable, a fees notice will be issued to you and you will be required to pay the fee before we can deal with your request.

Can my request be declined?

We will provide you with the information requested unless there is a good reason for not doing so. If this is the case, we will tell you the reason for declining your request. If you do not agree with our decision, you can ask us to reconsider, and if the request is still declined, you can ask the Information Commission’s officer to review that decision.

We are not obliged to comply with vexatious, repeated or substantially similar requests from the same person, other than at reasonable intervals.

Further information

If you are unhappy with a refusal to disclose information you should firstly complain to NHS Kernow. If you continue to be dissatisfied with the response you can then appeal to the Information Commissioner who will investigate the case and either agree with NHS Kernow’s decision or decide that the information must be disclosed.

Information Commissioner
Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF
Telephone 0303 123 1113