What is Freedom of Information (FOI)?
Under the Freedom of Information Act 2014 you have the right:
- to access records held by Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin.
- to have official information relating to you that is held by the hospital amended where it is incomplete, incorrect or misleading.
- to obtain reasons for decisions by Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin that affect you.
What can I ask for?
You now have a legal right to seek access to personal records that we hold about you in this hospital and to have the information amended if it is not accurate.
- all personal information regardless of when the records were created (mainly patient records)
- Personnel records of serving staff and former members of staff.
You have the right to seek access to non-personal records created after 21 April 1998 or those created before that date if required to understand later records which are accessible. These records would include information on policy formulation, guidelines and procedures used by the hospital.
How can a request be made under Freedom of Information?
Can I get access to any information that I seek?
Any official information held by the hospital can be sought under the Act. However, in defined circumstances it will sometimes be necessary to exempt from release, certain types of information. These exemptions, which are set out in Sections 28-41 of the FOI Act are designed to protect the public interest and the right of privacy. Some key exemptions relate to:
- 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
Is there a charge for accessing information under the FOI Act?
The FOI Act 2014 provides for charges relating to serach and retrieval (€20 per hour and the estimated cost of copying the record being €0.04 per page). This fee is only applicable if the total cost of search and retrieval and copying is greater than €101 and this fee is capped at €500. Where search, retrieval and copying fees are estimated at €700 and above, the hospital can refuse to process a request, unless the requester is prepared to refine the request to reduce the fee.
Charges for non-personal information
|Type of Request||Standard Fee||Reduced Fee for medical Card holders|
Appeal to Information Commissioner
|Requests under Section 7 for personal information||No fee||No fee|
|Application under Section 17 for amendment of a record containing incorrect, incomplete or misleading personal information||No fee||No fee|
|Application under section 18 for the reasons for a decision affecting the individual||No fee||No fee|
- The requester must receive acknowledgement of request within two weeks and a decision generally within four weeks of the request being received.
- In certain circumstances it may be necessary to extend this timeframe.
- If the period is extended, you will receive a notice from the hospital before the end of the initial period stating the reasons for delay.
Can a decision be reviewed?
If you are not satisfied with the decision, you may ask for that decision to be reviewed at a higher level in the Hospital.
A request for internal review must be submitted within four weeks of the initial decision. The hospital must complete that review within three weeks.
If you are still not satisfied with the internal review decision, you have the right to appeal to the Information Commissioner within 6 months, whose decision is final and conclusive.
The Information Commissioner’s decision can only be appealed to the High Court on a point of law.
Is it always necessary to make an FOI request to get information from OLCHC?
No – You may be able to obtain the information you require by other means such as:
- By Administrative Access for medical records i.e. by writing stating the information/record requested to:
- Medical Records Manager, Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin, Dublin 12
- By discussion with the relevant member of the hospital staff