Services and Access

Freedom of Information

The Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 gives members of the public a general right of access to information produced and held by Scottish Public Authorities, subject to some exemptions.  The NHS is a Scottish Public Authority.

To make an FOI request for information, an enquirer must make their request in a permanent format, (usually by letter or email). They do not need to quote the FOI Act or state their reason for requesting the information. The public authority then has 20 working days from receipt of the enquiry to respond and either:

  • provide the information
  • inform the enquirer that it does not hold the information requested
  • refuse to provide the information because an exemption applies.

Certain categories of information are exempt from the general right of access and will not be disclosed. If an exemption is applied the authority must state the reasons for the use of the exemption.  The enquirer can appeal against this non-disclosure.

Under the terms of the FOI Act, public authorities must produce a Publication Scheme. This lists information which they routinely make available. This information is, therefore, not subject to the terms of the Act.

For more information about FOI and making a request for information, please visit the website of the Scottish Information Commissioner.