Frequently Asked Questions

How long will it take to action my request?
Responses to all written requests will be actioned within 20 working days.

Can information be excluded or blacked out from documents that have been requested?
Yes, information can be excluded or blacked out within documents if the information is exempt.

In which form can I request receipt of the information?
Anyone can express a preference for receiving information in one or more ways, which may include a summary of the information, a permanent form, e.g. photocopy or printout. We will accommodate all requests where practicable and where it is not practicable will explain why.

Can a fee be charged for the information?
NHS Lothian may charge for handling a request, however, requests that would cost up to £100 to deal with will not be charged for. There is no charge for promotional or advisory leaflets and related material, unless they are published for sale, in which case the cover price will be indicated to you. Charges applicable to your request will be requested prior to the release of information.

When is the fee payable?
If we determine that a fee is required, the specified payment must be made before we will action your request for information.

What information should be included in the request?
Any requests for information should be described in as much detail as possible. If we are unsure of what information you require, we will need to seek clarification and this may result in a delay to provide the information requested.

What information can be requested?
Any recorded information that is held by or on behalf of NHS Lothian.

Will you provide the original documents?
No, we will provide information but not original documents.

How do I make a request for information?
All requests for information should be in writing, either by letter or email and include your full name, contact details and a description of the information requested. If information is required in any special format, this should be indicated at the time of the request.

What happens if my application for information is refused?
If we refuse your request for application, we will explain clearly why this information is exempt. Where information is already on the public forum or available in the publication scheme, we will advise you where to access this.

How does the Freedom of Information legislation apply to retrospective information?
The legislation applies to all information, regardless of how old it is, how long it has been held, or for what purpose it was prepared.

What happens if I am unhappy with the response I have received?
If you are unhappy with our decision, you can ask for us to review it. If after further review you remain dissatisfied, you may apply to the Information Commissioner to investigate further. Following investigation, the Commissioner will then determine whether you should receive the information requested either in full or in part.

Is Scotland the only country to have introduced Freedom of Information legislation?
No, many countries throughout the world have Freedom of Information legislation, including USA, New Zealand and Canada. The first country was Sweden - in 1766!

Who can request information?
Anyone can request information. This is not restricted to British citizens.

When did the act come into force?
January 1st 2005

Last Reviewed: 01/06/2011