St Vincent's Hospital, Fairview

Freedom of Information

Overview

1. Introduction
2. Making an Application under the Freedom of Information Act 2014
3. How Freedom of Information Applications are dealt with
4. Rights of Review and Appeal
5. Internal Review
6. Review by the Information Commissioner
7. Appeal to the High Court
8. Fees
9. Decision Makers/Internal Reviewer

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1. Introduction:

The Freedom of Information Act 2014 are intended to facilitate public access to information held by public bodies that would not be routinely available. Access to information is subject to certain exemptions, procedures and time limits.

Under the Freedom of Information Act 2014 an individual has the right to:

  • Access records held by St. Vincentís Hospital
  • Correct personal information relating to him/her held by St. Vincentís Hospital where it is inaccurate, incomplete or misleading
  • Access reasons for decisions made by St. Vincentís Hospital directly affecting him/herself.

The following records come under the scope of the Act:-

  • All records relating to personal information held by St. Vincentís Hospital irrespective of when created
  • All other records created from commencement date i.e. 21st April 1998
  • Any other records necessary to the understanding of a current record
  • Personnel records of staff created after 21st April 1995

2. Making an Application under the Freedom of Information Act 2014

Requests for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2014 should be made in writing. In preparing a request an applicant should follow these guidelines.

  • State that your request is made under the Freedom of Information Act 2014
  • Provide sufficient information to enable the hospital staff to identify the records requested
  • State any preference you have regarding the format in which the record(s) are to be supplied e.g. photocopies, computer disk etc. The hospital will try to accommodate such preferences where practicable
  • Provide full personal contact details and proof of identity by means of a birth certificate, driverís licence, passport etc.

Applications under the Freedom of Information Act 2014 should be addressed to:

The Freedom of Information Officer
St. Vincentís Hospital
Convent Avenue
Richmond Road
Fairview
Dublin 3.
Tel: +353 1 884 2485
Fax: +353 1 837 0801
Email: marialyons@svhf.ie

3. How Freedom of Information Applications are dealt with

The Freedom of Information Act 2014 sets down strict time-limits for the processing of requests: These are as follows:-

  • Acknowledgement of a request within two weeks (10 working days) from the date of receipt of request
  • A reply to a request within four weeks (20 working days) from the date of receipt of request

However it may be necessary to extend this period for up to four weeks more if;

  • The request relates to a very large number of records, or
  • A large number of requests for the same record(s) has been made
  • the records relate to a third party who may have to be contacted, the deadline may be extended by three weeks.

If the period is extended, you will receive notice of this before the end of the initial four week period and the reasons for the delay will be given.

If St. Vincentís Hospital, Fairview, considers that your request should have been sent to another public body, the request shall be forwarded to that body, and you will be notified that this has happened. This must be done not later than two weeks from the receipt of your request. Your request will then be treated as though you had sent it to the second public body on the date, which it is received by them.

If St. Vincentís Hospital, Fairview, holds some, but not all, of the records you have requested, then you will be sent a letter informing you of this, and supplying the name(s) and contact details of the other bodies from whom you should request those records not held by the hospital.

If a request is granted you will be told in writing:

  • That your request has been granted
  • The name of the person dealing with your request
  • The day on which the decision was made
  • The format in which the record will be released
  • The fee for searches if applicable

If your request is refused you will be told in writing:

  • That the request has been refused, and the reasons for the refusal
  • The name of the person who decided to refuse the record
  • You will be informed of your rights of appeal and review, as set out below.

4. Rights of Review and Appeal

The Act sets out a series of exemptions to protect sensitive information where its disclosure may damage interests of third parties or the public good known as the public interest. If the initial decision maker decides to withhold information the requester may submit a request to have the matter reviewed by the hospital's internal reviewer. In addition decisions about, delaying access to records, charges for searches and the form in which access is granted, may also be reviewed.

5. Internal Review

Requests for internal review must be submitted in writing within four weeks of the original decision. The request should be made to:

The Chief Executive Officer,
St. Vincentís Hospital,
Convent Avenue,
Richmond Road,
Fairview,
Dublin 4.

Tel: +353 18842436
Fax: +353 1 8370801

The hospital must complete its internal review and notify you within three weeks of receiving the request.

Note - An application for an internal review that is not completed within three weeks is deemed to be a refusal. You can then proceed to review by the Information Commissioner without waiting for the hospital to communicate its decision.

6. Review by the Information Commissioner

If dissatisfied with the outcome of the internal review, you may appeal the decision and seek an independent external review from the Information Commissioner.

Appeals To the Information Commissioner:
Appeals to the Information Commissioner must be made in writing within six months and sent to the following address: -

Office of the Information Commissioner,
18 Lower Leeson, Dublin 2.

Telephone: +353 1 6785222
Fax: +353 1 6610570

Email: foi@ombudsman.irlgov.ie
Web: http://www.oic.irlgov.ie/en/

The Information Commissioner advise you of their decision within four months.

7. Appeal to the High Court

A person affected by a decision of the Information Commissioner may make appeal to the High Court on a Point of Law only.

8. Fees

Fees may be charged as follows:

  • For personal information, photocopying charges may apply.
  • For non-personal information, fees may be charged for the time spent in efficiently locating and copying records, based on the standard rates in operation at the time of the request. No fee may be levied for the cost of time involved in considering an application under the Act once the records have been retrieved.
  • A deposit of 20% may be payable where the total fee is likely to exceed Ä40. In these circumstances the hospital must, if requested assist the applicant to amend the request so as to reduce or eliminate the amount of the deposit.

Charges may be waived in the following circumstances:

  • Where the administrative cost of collecting the fee exceeds the amount to be charged.
  • Where the information requested would be of particular assistance to the understanding of an issue of national importance.

9. Decision Makers/Internal Reviewer

Decision Makers:

  • Director of Nursing
  • Clinical Director
  • Medical Records Officer

Internal-Reviewer:

  • The Chief Executive

For further information and assistance please contact:

The Freedom of Information Officer
St. Vincentís Hospital,
Convent Avenue,
Richmond Road,
Fairview,
Dublin 3.

Tel: +353 1 8842485
Fax: +353 1 8370801
Email marialyons@svhf.ie