Freedom of Information

What is it?

The Freedom of Information Act creates a right of access to recorded information and obliges a public authority to:

  • Have a publication scheme in place.
  • Allow public access to information held by public authorities.

The act covers any recorded organisational information such as reports, policies or strategies, that is held by a public authority in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and by UK-wide public authorities based in Scotland. However, it does not cover personal information such as patient records, which are covered by the Data Protection Act.

Public authorities include government departments, local authorities, the NHS, state schools and police forces.

The act is enforced by the Information Commissioner who regulates both the Freedom of Information Act and the Data Protection Act.

Who can request information?

Under the act, any individual, anywhere in the world, is able to make a request to a practice for information. An applicant is entitled to be informed in writing, by the practice, whether the practice holds information of the description specified in the request and if that is the case, have the information communicated to him/her. An individual can request information, regardless of whether he/she is the subject of the information or affected by its use.

How should requests be made?

Requests must:

  • be made in writing (this can be electronically e.g. email);
  • state the name of the applicant and an address for correspondence;
  • describe the information requested.

What cannot be requested?

Personal data about staff and patients covered under Data Protection Act.

For more information see these websites:

The surgery publication scheme

A publication scheme requires an authority to make information available to the public as part of its normal business activities. The scheme lists information under seven broad classes, which are:

  • Who we are and what we do
  • What we spend and how we spend it
  • What our priorities are and how we are doing it
  • How we make decisions
  • Our policies and procedures
  • Lists and registers
  • The services we offer

Part I – Introduction

This Publication Scheme is a complete guide to the information routinely made available to the public by the partners. It is a description of the information about our General Practitioners and Practice which we make publicly available. It will be reviewed at regular intervals and we will monitor its effectiveness.

1. How much does it cost?

We have indicated in each class whether it includes chargeable information or not, and if so which of the following categories could apply. For the most part, we will charge you only for hard copies or copying onto media (eg CD). Some information is available free, but for others there may be a charge. The charges will vary according to how information is made available.

  • Via our website – free of charge, although any charges for Internet Service provider and personal printing costs would have to be met by the individual. For those without internet access, a single print-out as on the website would be available by post from the Practice Manager or by personal application at reception. This is charged at £0.30 per sheet (one internet page may require more than one sheet to print on) plus postage. However, requests for multiple printouts, or for archived copies of documents which are no longer accessible or available on the web, may attract a further charge for the retrieval, photocopy, postage etc. We will let you know the cost and charges that will have to be paid in advance. We will not provide printouts of other organisations’ websites.
  • Leaflets and brochures – free of charge for leaflets or booklets on, for example, services we offer to the public. A charge will be made to cover postage costs. A list of available publications is given in Part II(4).
  • Other forms of hard copy – glossy or other bound paper copies, CD-ROM, video or other mediums are available and chargeable as detailed in each class.
  • E-mail – free of charge unless it says otherwise.

The charges will be reviewed regularly.

2. How is the information made available?

All information is available on the practice website

Chargeable hard copies of the information are available by contacting the Practice Manager.

3. Your rights to information

  • In addition to accessing the information identified in the Publication Scheme, you are entitled to request information about Digital First Team Practice under the NHS Openness Code 1995.
  • The Freedom of Information Act 2000 recognises that members of the public have the right to know how public services are organised and run, how much they cost and how the decisions are made.
  • From 1 January 2005 it will oblige the General Practice to respond to requests about information that it holds, and is recorded in any format and it will create a right of access to that information. These rights are subject to some exemptions which have to be taken into consideration before deciding what information it can release.
  • New environmental information regulations may be introduced as early as 2003. These will enable similar access to environmental information as under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.
  • Under the Data Protection Act 2018, you are also entitled to access your clinical records or any other personal information held about you. For this, please contract the Data Controller (see our Privacy Policy).

4. Feedback

If you have any comments about the operation of the Publication Scheme, or how we have dealt with your request for information from the Scheme, please contact the Practice Manager.

Part II – Classes of Information

All information is held, retained and destroyed in accordance with NHS guidelines. Our commitment to publish information excludes any information which can be legitimately withheld under the exemptions set out in the NHS Openness Code or Freedom of Information Act 2000. Where individual Classes are subject to exemptions, the main reasons include the protection of commercial interests and personal information under the Data Protection Act 2018. This applies to all Classes within the Publication Scheme. The information on this Scheme is grouped into the following broad categories.

1. Who we are

Description Details of the practice, organisational structures, key personnel and how we fit into the NHS
How available Website, paper copy
Charges For paper copies only. See Part I(1) for fees.

Details of GPs and staff at our practice can be found on our website Team page.

A full list of the services we provide can be found on our website Services page.

This practice operates under a General Medical Services contract.
The contract is with NHS England (Greater Manchester Area), 4th Floor, Three Piccadilly Place, Manchester, M1 3BN

The practice aims to follow National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) and National Service Framework guidelines. Copies of these can also be found on the NICE website or the Department of Health website

The NHS is a very large part of the public sector. It is possible to find out information about our practice, NHS England and other NHS services in your area by using NHS Choices at A full list of local General Practices can be found there too. Ashcroft Surgery provides primary medical services for the geographical area of part of Manchester.

Some information may be withheld, including personal, confidential information about individuals which is protected by the Data Protection Act 2018.

2. Our services

Description The range of services we provide under contract to the NHS
How available Website, paper copy
Charges For paper copies only. See Part I(1) for fees.

We offer a full range of primary healthcare services. This includes (please note the list is not exhaustive):

  • access to a doctor or nurse for undiagnosed conditions;
  • ongoing monitoring of existing (chronic) conditions;
  • certain immunisations;
  • maternity medical services;
  • contraceptive services;
  • national cancer screening programmes;
  • counselling;
  • minor surgery.

For any policies relating to our services, please refer to Part II(6).

You can also see our practice leaflet which is available from reception at the surgery.

Details of our practice premises and contact details are available here.

Details about making an appointment and what to do when we are closed are available here.

English is the only language spoken by staff at the practice. If your first language is not English then we can arrange for an interpreter to be present. This can take up to 4 days to arrange.

3. Financial and funding information

Description Funding details and charging policies
How available Website, paper copy
Charges For paper copies only. See Part I(1) for fees.

We receive money from Greater Manchester Integrated Care Board according to our contract (as per Part II(1) above) in exchange for services provided for patients. Income we received from the NHS before expenses is summarised in the table below. Money spent on drugs is paid on behalf of the practice and allocated to us: we do not receive this as income first.

Year Total income Spent of drugs
2001/02 £ £
2002/03 £ £
2003/04 £ £
2004/05 £ £
2005/06 £ £
2006/07 £ £
2007/08 £ £
2008/09 £ £
2009/10 £ £
2010/11 £ £
2011/12 £ £
2012/13 £ £
2013/14 £ £
2014/15 £ £

Please see Part III for a link to the document titled Statement of Fees and Allowances payable for General Medical Practitioners in England. Please apply to the Department of Health for information on costs and the formats this is available in.

There may be circumstances where material cannot be released because it is confidential or commercial information or the appropriate officer designated for these purposes under the Act has taken the view that it may be prejudicial to the conduct of the Practice’s affairs.

4. Regular publications and information for the public

Description Guidance and information leaflets
How available Website, paper copy
Charges For paper copies only. See Part I(1) for fees.

As a practice we publish the following documents. These are either freely available on the website or on request from the practice. You should enclose a stamped self addressed envelope if you would like the documents posting to you.

5. Complaints

Description Policies, procedures and contacts for complaints
How available Website, paper copy
Charges For paper copies only. See Part I(1) for fees.

If you feel any aspect of our service has not been to your satisfaction then please let us know. Please see our complaints procedure for further details.

6. Our policies and procedures

Description General policies and procedures in use within the practice
How available Website, paper copy
Charges For paper copies only. See PartI(1) for fees.

We have policies available on the following. These are either freely available on the website or on request from the practice. You should enclose a stamped self addressed envelope if you would like the documents posting to you.

7. This publication scheme

In this class we will publish any changes we make to this publication scheme, the criteria on which our information management policies are made and a referral point for all enquires regarding information management generally in the practice. We will also publish any proposed changes or additions to publications already available.

Part III: Useful Resources