Regulating doctors, ensuring good medical practice

Freedom of information

 


 

Contents

 


 

Introduction

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 (or FOI Act) gives anyone the right to access recorded information that is held by public authorities and this includes the GMC.

You have the right to ask us for information and:

  • Be told whether or not we have the information you want
  • Have the information given to you, unless it is covered by any of the exemptions listed in the Act

How to get information

Check our Publication Scheme and website

A publication scheme commits us to making information available to the public as part of our normal business activities.  You can find the details of the information we make available on our website.

Make a request to us

If you cannot find what you want on the website or by using the publication scheme then you can send an information request to us by letter, fax or email. We will need:

  • Your name and contact details (email or postal address) so we can send you a reply; and
  • A description of the information or documents you want

It would be helpful if you could clearly mark your correspondence “Freedom of Information”. If you prefer, you can fill out our Information Request Form (37k, pdf) and send it to us. Our details are under the Contact us section.

We will respond to your request as soon as possible, normally within 20 working days and you will receive a reply to say either:

  • We have the information you have asked for and will provide you with a copy of it.
  • Or, we have the information but we cannot give it to you because we are exempt from doing so - in which case we will explain why.
  • Or, we are unable to confirm or deny if we have the information - in which case we will explain why.

Charges

If you are requesting information through our publication scheme and the entry says a charge applies you will be told how much it will cost upon request. If you are making an individual request, a charge may apply depending on how much time it takes and how costly it is to compile the information.

We do not have to answer a request for information if the cost of complying is more than £450 (about two and half days of work or 18 hours at a rate of £25 per person per hour). For more information on this see our Fees Policy (24k, pdf).

Exemptions

Although you can ask for any information we hold, there are a number of exemptions under the FOI Act. This means we may not be able to give you the information you have asked for.

The Public Interest Test

Some of the exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act require us to do a public interest test. This means that even if the information is exempt, we must consider if there is a greater public interest in releasing the information to you. If we decide the public interest is better served by keeping the information exempt then we will explain our reasons to you for doing so.

Below are some examples of exemptions that we think are most relevant to the kind of information we hold.

Absolute exemptions – the public interest test does not apply

  • Information accessible by other means
  • Personal information
  • Information provided in confidence

Non-Absolute exemptions – public interest test applies

  • Information intended for future publication
  • Law enforcement
  • Prejudice to effective conduct of public affairs
  • Health and Safety
  • Legal professional privilege
  • Commercial interests

Further information

If you would like more information about the Freedom of Information Act, its exemptions and how they apply you can: