FOI Summary



The Freedom of Information Act 1997 (FOI) as amended by the Freedom of Information (Amendment) Act 2003 obliged government departments, the Health Service Executive (HSE), Voluntary Hospitals, local authorities and a range of other public bodies to publish information on their activities and to make the information they held, including personal information, available to citizens.

On 14 October 2014, the Freedom of Information Act 2014 came into effect and repealed the 1997 and 2003 Acts. The new Act introduced a number of changes to the Freedom of Information scheme and widened the range of bodies to which the FOI legislation applies to all public bodies, unless specifically exempt. It also allows for the Government to prescribe (or designate) other bodies receiving significant public funds, so that the FOI legislation applies to them also.

The old legislation continues to apply to any FOI request made before the new legislation came into effect. It also applies to any subsequent review or appeal.

Rules

The Freedom of Information Act 2014 provides the following statutory rights:

  • A legal right for each person to access information held by a body to which FOI legislation applies
  • A legal right for each person to have official information relating to himself/herself amended where it is incomplete, incorrect or misleading
  • A legal right to obtain reasons for decisions affecting himself/herself.
  • Make a Request under the Freedom of Information Act, 2014.See below.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does it work?
Can I get access to any information that I seek?
Can others see my records?
How do I make a request under the Act?
Is there a charge for accessing information under the Act?
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?
What can I do if I want to have my personal information amended?
Is it always necessary to make a F.O.I. request to get information from the Hospital?
What information publications/leaflets are available?

 

How does it work?

 

The Act requires bodies to respond to requests from the public for information they hold. Public bodies must acknowledge receipt of requests within 2 weeks and give their decision on a request normally within 4 weeks of receiving it. Staff of Public bodies must also assist members of the public seeking access to information.
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How do I make a request under the Act?

  • Requests must be in writing, preferably on our application form
  • For Third Party Requests / Requests for records of Deceased Persons. click here.
  • State the request is made under the F.O.I. Act.
  • State clearly the records or information you are looking for.
  • Indicate the manner of access sought, i.e. copy of the record or to view originals.
  • The F.O.I. Officer at the hospital can be contacted for any assistance you require e.g. to put your request in such a way that it complies with the requirements of the Act. Proof of identity has to be provided before access to personal information is granted. Proof of authorisation has to be provided before access to third party information is granted. 
  • You will receive an acknowledgement of the request within two weeks and a decision within four weeks of the date the request was received.
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Can other people gain access to my personal records?

No, only you can gain access to your personal records, unless you give your authorisation for someone else to access them on your behalf.
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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 Public Bodies
  • Functions and Negotiations of Public Bodies.

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.
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Is there a charge for accessing information under the F.O.I. Act?

Personal information will normally be given free of charge. However, charges may apply to other categories of information.
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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.
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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 can complete our form (Application for Amendment of Personal Information) if you believe this to be the case. 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).

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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. An application form is available if you wish to request same. Routine requests for records/information are co-ordinated through the F.O.I. office and may necessitate to be dealt with under F.O.I. depending on the particular circumstances. Every effort is made to issue records/information requested outside F.O.I. on a routine basis.
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What information publications/leaflets are available?

 

Section 8 of the Freedom of Information Act 2014 requires FOI bodies to prepare and publish as much information as possible in an open and accessible manner on a routine basis outside of FOI, having regard to the principles of openness, transparency and accountability as set out in Section 8(5) and 11(3) of the Act.  This allows for the publication or giving of records outside of FOI provided that such publication or giving of access is not prohibited by law.  The scheme commits FOI bodies to make information available as part of their normal business activities in accordance with this scheme.

The information required to be published is set out under the 6 headings set out below. Within each tab, there is a link to the relevant information.

The Act requires that in preparing, reviewing or revising a Publication Scheme, an FOI body shall have regard to the public interest in:-

 

(a) allowing public access to information held by the FOI body;

(b) the publication of reasons for decisions made by the FOI body; and

(c) publishing information of relevance or interest to the general public in relation to its activities and functions generally.

 

For further information on the SIVUH Model Publication Scheme, please go the Model Publication Scheme Home page

Application Form      
To make a standard request form. click here 

For Third Party Requests, or Requests for records of Deceased Persons. click here

Page last updated: 27/07/2017
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South Infirmary

Victoria University Hospital



A teaching hospital

of University College Cork