Freedom of Information
Freedom of Information (FOI)
The Freedom of Information Act (FOI) was applied to the Dublin Dental University Hospital in October 1999, FOI gives you three legal rights:
- The right to access both personal and non-personal records
- The right to have personal information held on them corrected or updated where the information is incomplete, incorrect, or misleading
- The right to seek reasons for decisions that affect them.
There are exemptions provided for in the 1997 and 2003 Acts. This means that there are specific circumstances when the requested information will not be released, e.g. to protect confidentiality. If any of these exemptions are used to withhold information, the reasons will be clearly explained to you.
The Dublin Dental University Hospital is required under sections 15 and 16 of the Act to publish reference guides which are available from the link below.
Under Section 15 each public body must publish information on the following:
- Structure of the organisation
- Objectives, purpose, functions and duties
- Services provided
- Brief description of services
- Classes of records held
- How to access information and make a request under Freedom of Information Act 1997
- Rights of review and appeal
- Contact details
- Click here to download the Section 15 manual
Under Section 16 each public body must publish information on the following:
- Legislative background including regulations
- DDUH Policies
- Eligibility criteria
- Patient and Visitor Information
- Appeals procedure
Click here to download the Section 16 manual
How does FOI work?
The Act requires the Hospital to respond to requests from the public for information it holds. The Hospital must acknowledge receipt of requests within 2 weeks and give its decision on a request normally within 4 weeks of receiving it. The Hospital must also assist members of the public seeking access to information.
How to make an FOI request:
You must apply in writing to the FOI Officer in the Dublin Dental University Hospital stating that you are making a Freedom of Information request. You must provide sufficient information in order for the requested records to be identified e.g. for personal records your date of birth, current and previous addresses and approximate dates of attendance. You must specify the records required and the manner in which access is sought e.g. photocopies. There will usually be no charge for copies of personal records; however, the hospital has the right to charge for photocopying if the quantity of records is very large. There may also be a fee for copying X-ray films.
A wide range of non-personal information is available to the public in relation to the services provided by the Dublin Dental University Hospital. This information is available via the web site (www.dentalhospital.ie) and information leaflets/publications.
If the non-personal information requested is not readily available, it will be necessary to apply under the Freedom of Information Acts and an application fee of €15 (€10medical card holder) must accompany this request.
Is it always necessary to make a F.O.I. request to get information from the hospital?
No- You may be able to obtain the information you require by other means such as:
- By discussion with the relevant member of the hospital staff.
- By information leaflets, etc. which the hospital publishes.
- By administrative access, i.e. by writing to the F.O.I. Officer of the hospital stating the information/record requested.
Can I get access to any information that I seek?
Access to any official information held by the hospital can be sought under the Act. However, in order to allow the hospital business to be properly conducted and to comply with the requirements it will sometimes be necessary to exempt from release certain types of information. These exemptions are set out in the Act. Among the exemptions are:
- Personal information (other than information relating to the person making the request).
- Information supplied to the hospital in confidence.
- Law enforcement and Public Safety.
- Commercially sensitive information.
- Deliberations of the hospital.
- Functions and Negotiations of hospital.
While the hospital will seek to protect the privacy of individuals and information supplied in confidence, in certain circumstances it may be in the public interest to release such information.
What can I do if I am unhappy with a decision on my request, e.g. where access has been refused, deferred or only partially granted?
You may appeal the decision to the Internal Reviewer of the Hospital within 4 weeks of notification of decision. You may appeal to the Information Commissioner against the decision of the hospital’s Internal Reviewer within 6 months of notification of decision. You may appeal to the High Court on a point of law only.
What can I do if I want my personal information amended?
The F.O.I. act gives you the right to ask to have anything on a record about you held by the hospital changed, if you believe it is – incorrect, incomplete or misleading. You should also provide any information which will support the changes you want. If you wish to view your amended record you will need to provide proof of identity. You may appeal the decision if you are not satisfied to the Internal Reviewer (within four weeks) or to the Information Commissioner (within six months).
If you require any further information, please contact Ms. Cathy Doyle, FOI Officer. Email: email@example.com