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Freedom of Information Act

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT PUBLICATION SCHEME
FOR GENERAL PRACTITIONERS IN SCOTLAND
Welcome to the Blue Practice, Stockbridge Health Centre General Practitioner’s Publication Scheme. This is a guide to the General Practitioners’ (who practice together) within the partnership/single practice Publication Scheme as required under section 23 of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

Drs L M Wilson, R J Shaw, P J Twiddy, D H S Thyne, S A Drummond, H Molyneux, Blue Practice Stockbridge Health Centre, 1 India Place, Edinburgh EH3 6EH

Introduction

· Under Section 23 of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (The Act), a ‘public authority’, which is defined as including General Practitioners, must prepare a publication scheme setting out the information it routinely makes publicly available. The British Medical Association Model Publication Scheme for General Practitioners in Scotland has been approved by the Scottish Information Commissioner who is responsible for promoting and enforcing the Act. In addition we have to review the scheme from time to time.

This Publication Scheme is a complete guide to the information routinely made available to the public by Blue Practice Stockbridge Health Centre. It is a description of the information about our General Practitioners and Practice which we make publicly available. It will be reviewed at regular intervals and we will monitor its effectiveness. In adopting (or reviewing) our publication scheme, we are required to have regard to the public interest in:

· Allowing public access to information we hold; and
· The publication of reasons for the decisions we make.
Freedom Of Information Contact Details

The Model Publication Scheme

Overall responsibility for the Model Publication Scheme developed by the British Medical Association for adoption by General Practitioners in Scotland rests with the British Medical Association. This Model Publication Scheme will be subject to review by the British Medical Association and we welcome comments. Electronic copies of this Model Publication Scheme may be downloaded from the Scottish General Practitioners pages of the British Medical Association website at www.bma.org.uk or paper copies will be available on written request to the Secretary of the Scottish General Practitioners Committee of the British Medical Association. The point of contact for further information or comments relating to the Model Publication Scheme is:
Ms Carrie Young
Secretary
Scottish General Practitioners Committee
British Medical Association
14 Queen Street
Edinburgh
EH2 1LL

Tel: 0131 247 3000 Fax: 0131 247 3001

Copies of the scheme as adopted by a practice/general practitioner should be obtained directly from that practice.
Practice information under the scheme

Our General Practice has formally adopted the British Medical Association Model Publication Scheme for General Practitioners in Scotland and for all enquiries relating to practice information which is contained in this scheme please contact:

Mrs Susan Duncan, Practice Manager, Blue Practice Stockbridge Health Centre, 1 India Place, Edinburgh EH3 6EH Telephone 0131 260 9240
Feedback

If you have any comments about the operation of the Publication Scheme, or how we have dealt with your request for information from the Scheme, please write to:

Dr L Wilson, Blue Practice Stockbridge Health Centre, 1 India Place, Edinburgh EH3 6EH Telephone 0131 260 9233

If we are unable to resolve any complaint, you can complain to the Scottish Information Commissioner who oversees the Act and whose contact details are below. From 1 January 2005, when the general right of access comes into force, there will be a formal appeal mechanism to deal with situations where information is withheld. Further details on this will be available on the Commissioner’s website at www.itspublicknowledge.info before this date.

FOI enquiries should be addressed to:

Kevin Dunion OBE
Scottish Information Commissioner
Kinburn Castle
Doubledykes Road
St Andrews
Fife
KY16 9DS

Tel: 01334 464610
enquiries@itspublicknowledge.info www.itspublicknowledge.info
Your rights to information

· The Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 recognises that members of the public have the right to know how public services are organised and run, how much they cost and how the decisions are made.
· From January 1st 2005 the General Practice will be obliged to respond to requests about recorded information that it holds. The Act creates a right of access to that information, subject to certain exemptions listed in the Act.
· New environmental information regulations will be introduced in January 2005. These will enable similar access to environmental information as under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.
· Under the Data Protection Act 1998, you are also entitled to access your clinical records or any other personal information held about you and you can contact: Mrs Susan Duncan, Practice Manager, Blue Practice, Stockbridge Health Centre, 1 India Place, Edinburgh EH3 6EH. Telephone 0131 260 9233.
How is the information made available?

The information within each Class is available in hard copy by applying directly to the practice manager.

Other formats/accessibility of information

Where possible the practice will take all reasonable steps to endeavour to meet requests to provide information in accessible formats.
CLASSES OF INFORMATION

Section 23(2)a of The Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 states that a publication scheme must specify the classes of information which authorities publish or intend to publish under the scheme. The Scottish Information Commissioner has clarified in guidance on publication schemes (under paragraph 6) that ‘class’ can be defined as ‘a group of information having one or more common characteristics, such as the subject or source of origin.’ The Scottish Information Commissioner’s guidance also notes that ‘a class of information is not the same as the actual documents which will appear in the class, although in certain cases it is possible that a class will only contain one document.’

All information at the Blue Practice Stockbridge Health Centre is held, retained and destroyed in accordance with NHS guidelines. Our commitment to publish information excludes any information which can legitimately be withheld under the exemptions set out in the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002. Where individual classes of information are subject to exemptions, the main reasons for this relate to the protection of commercial interests and personal information under the Data Protection Act 1998. Consequently, we may withhold information if its disclosure would breach confidentiality or seriously prejudice the commercial interests of any person or organisation. We may also withhold information which is personal information under the Data Protection Act 1998. In these cases, we will indicate why the information is being withheld. If you wish to complain about information which is being withheld from you, please read the Complaints section below and also refer to the previous ‘Feedback’ paragraph in this Model Publication Scheme, as this gives the contact details of a senior person in the practice who has overall responsibility for the operation of the scheme. This applies to all Classes within the Publication Scheme.

The information in this Scheme is grouped into the following classes:

1. Who we are
Details of the practice, organisational structures, key personnel and how we fit into the NHS.

The NHS is a very large part of the public sector. A full list of local General Practices can be found on the NHS Lothian Board website nhslothian.scot.nhs.uk

The Blue Practice General Practice provides primary medical services for the geographical area of Princes Street, Shandwick Place, Haymarket Terrace, West Coates, Roseburn Terrace, Murrayfield Road, Ravelston Dykes Road, Craigcrook Road, Quality Street, Mains Street, Ferry Road, Inverleith Row, Rodney Street, Broughton Street, Leith Street.

Information is available from the practice leaflet which can be obtained by writing to Mrs Susan Duncan, Practice Manager, or coming into the surgery and asking at reception. It can also be obtained from the practice website www.bluepractice.co.uk

2. Our services
The range of services we provide under contract to the NHS and the standards we follow in delivering services to patients.
· Details of all services offered are available to patients in the practice leaflet.

· This practice provides primary medical services to the standard laid down in the NHS (Primary Medical Services Section 17C Agreements) (Scotland) Regulations 2004 and the range of services we provide are contained within the Practice Leaflet.

· This practice aims to take into account NHS Quality Improvement Scotland standards and guidance, SIGN guidelines relevant to general practice and Scottish Executive Health Department service strategies and frameworks.

· Practitioners are registered with the General Medical Council and follow the standards and good medical practice guidelines laid down by the GMC, including the requirements set out in the GMC guidance ‘Duties of a Doctor’.

· This is an approved training practice.
3. Financial and funding information
Funding details and charging policies.

We make no charge for NHS services.

4. Regular publications, promotional and advisory leaflets
A number of leaflets are produced by the practice and available to the public.

5. Complaints
If a patient is dissatisfied with a doctor, any of the staff working in this practice or an administrative procedure it is his/her right to complain. The practice is happy to investigate any complaints and make changes or apologise for a mistake where appropriate.

Ø The Practice operates an in-house complaints procedure and has produced a small information sheet available to patients at the practice;

Ø Patients can either complain in writing, in person or over the telephone;

Ø All complaints are either dealt with straight away or acknowledge in writing within 2 working days;

Ø We aim to investigate all complaints within 10 working days;

Ø The practice is happy to meet with patients to discuss their complaint;

Ø The practice will, if appropriate, carry out a significant event analysis to identify what went wrong and how things could be improved;

Ø All complaints made to the practice are recorded in the complaints book together with any correspondence.
6. Our policies and procedures
General policies and procedures in use within the practice and appropriate policies which inform decision making processes within the practice which are of importance to the public. These include, but are not restricted to, data protection, prescribing and prescription, health and safety. We make changes to our services on the basis of instructions received from the NHS Board.
Cost of Information

For the most part, we will charge you only for hard copies or copying onto media (e.g. CD ROM). Some information is available free, but in some cases there may be a charge. The charges will vary according to how information is made available. Charges are as follows:

a) Leaflets and brochures on services we offer to the public will be provided free of charge. A list is available from the Practice Nurse].

b) Information provided via e-mail will be free of charge.

c) where information is available subject to a fee, such as the charge per sheet of photocopying the fee will be 40p per sheet. The practice will, wherever possible, let people making the request for such information known in advance how much a document would cost, taking into account any total copying charges for the document. The charges will be reviewed regularly and this scheme updated.

Useful Resources
Web sites:
www.itspublicknowledge.info
This is the web site of the Scottish Information Commissioner.
www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk
This is the web site of the Information Commissioner.
http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/?pageID=198
This is the Scottish Executive Freedom of Information web site.
http://www.show.scot.nhs.uk/confidentiality/information_commissioner.htm
This is the NHS Scotland Confidentiality and Data Protection web site.
Publications

· FOI (Scotland) Act 2002 http://www.hmso.gov.uk/legislation/scotland/acts2002/20020013.htm

· FOI (Scotland) Act 2002 – Section 23: Publication Scheme and Section 24: Model Publication Scheme http://www.hmso.gov.uk/legislation/scotland/acts2002/20013–b.htm#23

· Code of Practice to FOI (Scotland) Act 2002 http://www.hmso.gov.uk/legislation/scotland/acts2002/20013–g.htm#60

· Scottish Health on the Web
www.show.scot.nhs.uk

· Comprehensive information on the General Medical Services contract, including contract documentation can be found at the Scottish Executive Health Department Pay Modernisation website
http://www.show.scot.nhs.uk/sehd/paymodernisation/pages/GMservicesContract.htm

· Comprehensive information on the General Medical Services contract, including contract documentation can be found on the following BMA web pages:
http://www.bma.org.uk/ap.nsf/Content/__Hub+GPC+contract
http://www.bma.org.uk/ap.nsf/Content/__Hub+gpc+SC
Copyright

Material available through this Publication Scheme is subject to the General Practice’s copyright unless otherwise indicated. Unless expressly indicated to the contrary, it may be reproduced free of charge in any format or medium provided it is done so accurately in a manner which will not mislead. Where items are re-published or copied to others, you must identify the source and acknowledge copyright status. This permit does not extend to third party material, accessed through the scheme. Some material we include in our scheme may be the copyright of a third party. Our rights to hold and use such material do not extend to others. You must obtain authorisation from the copyright holder(s) concerned if you wish to copy or reproduce such material.

The Queen’s Printer for Scotland has prepared guidance for public authorities on copyright. The guidance is aimed at Crown bodies but also covers other types of authorities. It is available at: www.oqps.gov.uk/foi/guidance.htm

For HMSO Guidance Notes see www.hmso.gov.uk/guides.htm or alternatively these may be accessed via www.tso.co.uk