Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

NHS Tayside responds to criticism of unanswered FOI questions

Ninewells Hospital.
Ninewells Hospital.

NHS Tayside has defended criticism of a “rapid rise” of “unanswered public questions”.

According to the latest figures, the local health board declared 529 freedom of information requests as “exempt” last year.

This figure has increased by 50% since 2014, when only 355 exempt requests were recorded – increasing in each of the last five years.

Freedom of information legislation allows members of the public access to information held by public authorities, some of which is not published without a specific request.

Liam Kerr MSP.

North East region Conservative MSP Liam Kerr said an increasing level of scrutiny is good for transparency.

However, he said the “rapid rise” of unanswered questions was “cause for concern” which may risk confidence in NHS Tayside if allowed to go unchecked.

He said: “It is concerning to know so many questions – for the most part perfectly reasonable – go unanswered.

“This is even more so when there has been a rapid rise in the rate of refusal, spiralling by so much in such a short space of time.

“Of course there are areas of sensitivity but I believe there needs to be a change in public accountability for health boards – so much information should be readily available and published as a matter of course.

“A lack of transparency risks public confidence but that culture needs to be established from the top.”

Since 2014, NHS Tayside has had six appeals to the Information Commissioner on the exemptions – four appeals made to the commissioner in 2016, one appeal in 2017 and one appeal in 2018.

A NHS Tayside spokesperson said its information governance team has never failed to respond to a Freedom of Information request, although speciific questions may not have been answered.

She said: “All Freedom of Information Scotland Act (FOISA) requests received by NHS Tayside are robustly assessed in line with FOISA and Data Protection legislation and answered accordingly.

“NHS Tayside has never failed to respond to a Freedom of Information request.

“During 2018, NHS Tayside received 826 FOISA requests. In some cases, information requests may come under the exemption categories within FOISA legislation and when this happens we cannot provide the specific information requested.

“During 2018, only 28 FOISA responses were issued where no information was provided and an appropriate exemption(s) applied.”

Already a subscriber? Sign in