Freedom of Information

The Freedom of Information Act allows members of the public have certain rights to access information created and held by the Trust. Under the Act public authorities, of which East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust is one, have two main duties:

  • to respond to written requests from members of the public for information held by the authority
  • to maintain a Publication Scheme

Our Publication Scheme has been available since October 2003, and it makes available any information routinely published by the Trust.

The purpose of the Act is to encourage a more open culture in the public sector and to give the public access to the information created by public authorities in their day-to-day decision making.

The Act means that members of the public from anywhere in the world can request information, subject to certain exemptions, relating to the Trust's business, for example about our buildings or how we spend our money.

Personal information

Access to your own personal records that may be held by the Trust is not covered by this Act: this still falls under the Data Protection Act.

If you would like access to your medical records, please contact the Medical Records Department, Royal Blackburn Teaching Hospital, Haslingden Rd, Blackburn, BB2 3HH.

For access to other personal information that the Trust holds on you, please contact The Data Protection Officer.

Further information about the Freedom of Information Act 2000

The idea of being more open in the public sector is not new. For many years the UK has been moving towards more openness, allowing members of the public limited rights of access to certain information, for example, the Data Protection Acts 1984, 1998; Access to Health Records Act 1990; The Code of Practice on Openness in the NHS. The present government included a pledge for freedom of information in its manifesto in 1997, and on winning the election, set about delivering its promises, with the Act being passed in December 2000.

What you need to know about the Freedom of Information Act 2000

Your rights - The Freedom of Information Act 2000 gives people the right to access information held by public authorities. Under the Act anyone, not just in the UK, can request information.

Some of the information you want may already be available via our Publication Scheme. Please check there first. If you would like to request information held by East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, not included in our Publication Scheme, please read the following set of guidelines.

How to make a request

Requests for information must be made in writing. Telephone requests cannot be accepted. We accept requests in the form of:

  • Letter
  • Email

Send your request to:

Freedom of Information Requests

East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust

Chief Executive's Office
Trust Headquarters
Royal Blackburn Teaching Hospital
Haslingden Road

Or email:

You must include your full contact details, stating in what format you would like to receive the information.

We will send you confirmation of the request, including a reference number, which you should quote in any communication with us relating to your request. We will also tell you when you should expect a reply, which, under the terms of the Act, has to be within 20 working days.


In some cases it will be necessary to charge you for the information. Please see the scale of charges detailed in our Publication Scheme. You will be issued with a fees notice, which you must pay within 3 months. If this is not paid, we will not provide you with the information you requested. If the charges for the request exceed the set upper limit of £450, we will give you some assistance as to what information could be provided to bring the cost below the limit.


Under the terms of the Act some of the information you request may be exempt from disclosure. If this is the case, we will inform you as to what information we will and will not disclose, including what exemption/s have been applied.

Occasionally, our response may take longer than the 20 working days prescribed in the Act because of applying exemptions.

If this is the case we will inform you, giving you a date by which we hope to have replied. If any further delays occur, we will advise you of them as necessary.


Once payment (if required) has been made, we will send you the information requested, provided it is held by East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust and is not exempt from disclosure. We will try to supply the information in the format you requested, as far as possible.

If we know that the information is held by another public authority, we can transfer your request and contact details to the authority. If you do not want us to do this, then please let us know and we will supply you with relevant contact details of the other public authority so that you can make the request yourself.


If you do not think that your request for information has been handled satisfactorily, you have the right to have an internal investigation carried out into the way your request has been handled. Complaints should be directed to:

Associate Director of Corporate Governance
Trust Headquarters
East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust
Royal Blackburn Teaching Hospital
Haslingden Road
Blackburn BB2 3HH


The information sent to you is subject to East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust's copyright, unless otherwise indicated. Unless expressly indicated on the material to the contrary, it may be reproduced free of charge in any format or medium, provided it is reproduced accurately and not used in a misleading manner.

Where any of the copyright items are being re-published or copied to others, you must identify the source of the material and acknowledge the copyright status. Permission to reproduce material does not extend to any material provided to you that is the copyright of third parties. You must obtain authorisation to reproduce such material from the copyright holders concerned.

For HMSO Guidance Notes on a range of copyright issues, see the HMSO website: or contact:

HMSO Licensing Division
St Clements House
2-16 Colegate
Norwich, NR31BQ
Tel: 01603 621000
Fax: 01603 723000