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Health secretary is ordered to disclose government’s assessment of risk posed by NHS changes

BMJ 2011; 343 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.d7407 (Published 15 November 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;343:d7407
  1. Clare Dyer
  1. 1BMJ

England’s health secretary, Andrew Lansley, has been ordered by the information commissioner to release a document that the Department of Health has sought to keep under wraps: its strategic risk register outlining the risks that his controversial reforms could pose to the NHS.

The department refused requests under the Freedom of Information Act from John Healey, the opposition Labour Party’s former health spokesman, and the London Evening Standard newspaper for disclosure of its strategic risk register.

It argued that making the risk assessment public “would jeopardise its ability to manage the transition and modernisation of the NHS, which would be detrimental to the totality of the policy, thereby risking the implementation of government policy and taxpayers’ money.”

However, the information commissioner, Christopher Graham, ruled on 2 November that “the factors are finely balanced in this case, but the considerable public …

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