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Health bill changes may restrict public access to information, campaign group warns

BMJ 2011; 343 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.d5754 (Published 09 September 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;343:d5754
  1. Susan Mayor
  1. 1London

The public’s access to information about the NHS may be restricted by the government’s radical changes because of the involvement of independent providers, the Campaign for Freedom of Information has warned.

The changes will enable NHS services to be provided by NHS bodies or independent providers under contract. The NHS organisations that commission services are subject to the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act but the independent providers will not be, points out the campaign group, which is a non-profit organisation working to improve public access to official information.

Under the current standard NHS contract, independent service providers will have to provide information requested by commissioning groups to help them answer any requests for information under the FOI Act. But this only applies to specific information that the contract requires a provider to hold or report on, such as the quality …

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