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
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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.