Communication with NHS boards regarding independence sector activity: FOI release

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

Information requested

You asked for correspondence from the Scottish Government with NHS boards regarding independent sector activity from August 2020 – November 2020.

We note that you specified independent sector activity as ‘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.’

In accordance with section 21(4) of FOISA, I have also reached a decision on your request.


Firstly let me apologise for the delay in providing a reply to your enquire. As I am sure you appreciate the response to the Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in the Scottish Government receiving an unprecedented level of correspondence and despite officials’ best efforts some delays have inevitably occurred in progressing this response. We have also experienced a number of staff changes over recent months that have compounded our ability to provide you with a timeous response.

I can now provide our response to your original request and attached is some of the information requested. 

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, you will wish to note that some of the details you have requested 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) of FOISA (personal information) applies to some of the information requested as disclosing it would contravene the data protection principles in Article 5(1) of the General Data Protection Regulation and in section 34(1) of the Data Protection Act 2018. This exemption is not subject to the ‘public interest test’, so we are not required to consider if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption.

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.

About FOI
The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at


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

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

Back to top