Freedom of Information

What does the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act do?

The Freedom of Information Act gives everyone the right to request information from public authorities. Public authorities include hospitals, health centres, health boards and health agencies. So the FOI Act applies to the Western Health and Social Care Trust.


How do I get information about the Trust under the FOI Act?

We put a lot of information on this website. If the information you want isn’t here, you can contact our FOI Office requesting the information. All requests for information need to be in writing (by letter or email) with a return address so we can respond. Please help by telling us as clearly as possible what information you want. We may contact you to check that we understand what you want, so do make sure you give your contact details. Click here for contact details or to submit an FOI request.


How long does it take to get information?

When we’ve received your written request for information, we have 20 working days to respond. We can extend that time in some cases. ‘Working days’ means Monday–Friday, but not bank holidays. If the information is part of our Publication Scheme – see above – then you should get it within five working days.


Are there charges for the information?

You can download information from our website free of charge. We’ll also provide most other information free, but we may charge for photocopying and postage. If you request a large amount of information, we may have to charge you for the time taken in gathering it. We will always tell you how much you will have to pay so you can decide if you want to go ahead with your request. If the cost is more than £450, we don’t have to provide the information, even if you are willing to pay. This is covered in the FOI Appropriate Limit and Fees Regulations 2004.


What if the information I want is not available?

The FOI Act only requires us to provide information we already hold. But we must assist you with your request. We will contact you and tell you what information we do hold that may help to answer your query.


Can I have anything I ask for?

The FOI Act gives access to almost all information that a public body holds. We can withhold (keep back) some information under ‘exemptions’. These include information about national security and law enforcement, or personal information about others. For more information about obtaining your own personal information - click here.