Article Text

PDF
Freedom of Information Act: scalpel or just a sharp knife?
  1. Simon P Hammond1,
  2. Jane L Cross2,
  3. Fiona M Poland2,
  4. Martyn Patel3,
  5. Bridget Penhale2,
  6. Toby O Smith2,
  7. Chris Fox1
  1. 1Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Department of Clinical Psychology, Norwich Medical School, University of East Anglia, Norwich Research Park, Norwich, UK
  2. 2Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, School of Health Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich Research Park, Norwich, UK
  3. 3Older Peoples Medicine Department, Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Norwich, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Simon P Hammond, Department of Clinical Psychology, Norwich Medical School, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich Research Park, Norwich NR4 7TJ, UK; S.Hammond{at}uea.ac.uk

Abstract

The concluding statement of the Burns Commission, established to evaluate whether changes are needed to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), ruled no major legislative changes were required. As such Freedom of Information (FOI) legislation still enables anyone to obtain information from public authorities. In this brief report article we explore arguments regarding FOI as an instrument for healthcare research using an international research programme as a case study.

  • Research Ethics
  • Public Law
  • Public Health Ethics
  • Coercion
  • Confidentiality/Privacy

Statistics from Altmetric.com

Footnotes

  • Twitter Follow Simon Hammond at @drsihammond

  • Contributors CF conceived the use of FOI in the main study. SPH initiated study design and oversaw the conduct of the study. CF, JC, FMP, BP and TS are grant holders. SPH created primary draft of manuscript with all authors contributing to its refinement and approval of the final manuscript. MP contributed to the implementation of the FOI requests and provided a clinical perspective to the study.

  • Funding National Institute for Health Research (grant no. DTC-RP-PG-0311-12004).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Disclaimer The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR or the Department of Health.

  • Ethics approval Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences Research Ethics Committee, University of East Anglia.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement We would like to thank all the NHS Trusts who responded to us and Dr Nigel Lambert, Mrs Anna Varley and Dr Tamara Backhouse for their assistance in compiling the FOI response data used in the article.

Request permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.