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Freedom of Information

If you are looking to scrutinise your local NHS you could write to your MP or councillor asking for their help with a particular question. If the information you are looking for is not available on the website of the primary care trust, hospital trust or other NHS body, consider making a request under the Freedom of Information Act.

A request under the Freedom of Information Act must usually receive a response within 20 working days, and can therefore be a very effective way of finding out what you are looking for. Be as precise as you can about what you are asking.

For an excellent guide from the Campaign for Freedom of Information see http://www.cfoi.org.uk/pdf/foi_guide.pdf.

WhatDoTheyKnow.com from mySociety provides details of FOI requests from public authorities e.g. the Department of Health, from the date that particular public authority was added to the database. The site shows each request and the response from the public authority.

Further details and guidance about the Free of Information Act are provided by the Information Commissioner's Office.