Correspondence with NHS boards regarding independent sector activity: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002

Information requested

Please could you provide me with correspondence from the Scottish Government with NHS boards regarding independent sector activity.

By independent sector activity I am referring to the use of private hospitals by NHS boards in Scotland. This would include but not be limited to correspondence referring to the NHS Scotland deal with private sector hospitals to treat patients during covid, any funding to use the private sector, any information about the contract(s), patient and operation numbers etc.

I am interested in the relevant information from March, April and May 2020.


Attached is a copy of the information requested.

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide all of the information you have requested as some of the details consist of very low numbers. In these circumstances and in light of the risk of identification of the individuals concerned, an exemption under Section 38(1)(b) (personal information) of FOISA applies to that information. This exemption is not subject to the ‘public interest test’ so we are not required to consider the public interest in disclosing these details.

Additionally, whilst our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the costs of locating, retrieving and providing all of the information requested would exceed the upper cost limit of £600. This is due to the Scottish Government identifying a large volume of documents (and their attachments) related to your request.

As per your request, we had worked forwards from March in preparing the documents for release, however due to the very specific nature of the request and the information held, we had to break it down into regional area for processing in the first instance. Whilst we have been able to progress further into the specified time period with correspondence relating to the Northern and Western Boards, the volume of correspondence and the time spent cataloguing and preparing these documents for release has meant, as advised above we have now reached the cost threshold.

You may, however, wish to consider reducing the scope of your request in order that the costs can be brought below £600 or submit a new specific request. This can be done by either narrowing the time period you are looking for or by being more specific as to which Private Health Firms your enquiry relates to.

Due to the size of the files we are unable to upload the documents referred to above. If you wish to consider, please contact us at the address below and we will be happy to provide.

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Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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