Skip to main content Skip to footer

Freedom of Information

The Freedom of Information (FOI) Act gives you the right to access all the information we hold.

How to request information

  1. Check our publication scheme to see if we’ve already published the information you’re looking for.
  2. Check our previous requests and responses to see if the information has already been requested.
  3. Make a new FOI request (do not include your personal details in the 'Specify your Information Request' box, as this will appear on the website). 

We'll normally respond within 20 working days of receiving your request.

During the current Coronavirus situation, there may be delays in providing the information you requested.  Staff and other resources may not be available through disruption to normal arrangements and supporting the NHS response. Thank you for your patience at this time.

The ICO is aware of this disruption. Read more on the ICO website.

If you want a copy of the personal information we hold about you, complete a subject access request form (PDF: 58.4KB).

Find out about your rights and how we will use your information

Comments about how we dealt with your request

If you have any comments about how we dealt with your FOI request, contact:

Information Governance
Stella House
Goldcrest Way
Newcastle upon Tyne
NE15 8NY

Email:  nhsbsa.foirequests@nhs.net

If you’re not satisfied with our response to your comments, contact:

The Information Commissioner
Wycliffe House
Wilmslow
SK9 5AF

Email: www.ico.org.uk/global/contact-us/email/
Website: www.ico.org.uk/

How to request patient-identifiable data

  1. Discuss your research project with the NHS Health Research Authority.
  2. Apply to the relevant research ethics committee for approval (this approval must be supplied as part of your application).
  3. If you want to link our primary care data with Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) sensitive patient-identifiable data, complete the DARS application process at NHS Digital.         
  4. Read our data for research application form (Word: 578KB) and research board terms of reference (Word: 2.1MB).
  5. Email us at nhsbsa.researchinsight@nhs.net to discuss your request - include any relevant documents (for example, the ethical approval or your legal basis for requesting patient-identifiable data).
  6. Complete the application form, including purchase order details, and email it to nhsbsa.researchinsight@nhs.net.

How we review your request

Our research board reviews all requests. They decide if it meets the requirements and if we can support it.

We'll give you a reason if we're unable to support your request at the time of application. 

Reviews usually take 6 to 8 weeks. It may take longer, depending on our resource availability and how complex the request is.

There will be a non-refundable charge for reviewing your request. If your request is approved, there will be additional charges to cover the cost of processing and delivering the data.

Non-identifiable patient data or data from multiple data sources not available through Freedom of Information

If data is not published and not available through Freedom of Information you must complete our application for requesting data (Word: 227KB) and return to nhsbsa.datarequest@nhs.net

We'll then review your application.

If it contains the appropriate detail, we'll schedule an appointment to discuss any elements that need to be considered in order for your application to progress.

Some important elements of an application that often require further discussion include:

  • the legal basis under which you access the data
  • technical feasibility - whether we can provide what is being requested
  • the purpose for wanting the data, including what benefits will be yielded for health and social care in the UK

The application will be sent back to you if more information is required in any of these areas.

We'll work closely with you to capture the necessary detail in your application.

You then resubmit your application with the additional information included.

We do not charge for data but we do apply charges to cover the cost of processing and delivering the service. We make sure charges are applied fairly and consistently, broadly determined by the amount of effort and approvals required.

Charges apply to any application received after 1 February 2019.

Charges are calculated on 4 key service components, which are the:

  • type of application
  • volume of data requested
  • number of times throughout the agreement that you require data to be disseminated
  • nature of the service requested

Costs will be based on a daily rate of the analytical resource involved. Each request will be individually costed including a charge for assessing the request.

Actual costs will be confirmed at the end of the application process and formally agreed before work commences.

The importance of using data

We recognise the importance of using data to benefit public health. It’s important to use data in an ethical, controlled and consensual way.

Our policies make sure that data used for public health research remains confidential.

All requests for data are subject to the provisions outlined in:

Find out more about our governance framework.