Find out more about the Freedom of Information Act

The main principle behind freedom of information legislation is that people have a right to know about the activities of public authorities, unless there is a good reason for them not to. This is sometimes described as a presumption or assumption in favour of disclosure. The Freedom of Information (FOI) Act provides public access to information held by public authorities:

It does this in two ways:

  • public authorities are obliged to publish certain information about their activities; and
  • members of the public are entitled to request information from public authorities.

The Act covers any recorded information that is held by a public authority in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and by UK-wide public authorities based in Scotland. Information held by Scottish public authorities is covered by Scotland’s own Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

Public authorities include government departments, local authorities, the NHS, state schools and police forces. However, the Act does not necessarily cover every organisation that receives public money. For example, it does not cover some charities that receive grants and certain private sector organisations that perform public functions.

Recorded information includes printed documents, computer files, letters, emails, photographs, and sound or video recordings.

The Act does not give people access to their own personal data (information about themselves) such as their health records or credit reference file. If a member of the public wants to see information that a public authority holds about them, they should make a subject access request under the Data Protection Act 2018.

Publication Schemes are guides to what information the NHS will routinely publish or intends to publish

Any questions, comments or complaints about this Scheme should be sent in writing to: Freedom of Information Officer, IG office, Eastgate House, 1st Floor, Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Trust, Brockley Hill, Stanmore, HA7 4LP or email:

If you do not think that we have handled your FOI request appropriately, you may ask for an internal review. Please send your request to the Information Governance manager via or to Eastgate House, 1st Floor, RNOH NHS Trust, Brockley Hill, Stanmore, Middlesex HA7 4LP. Alternatively, please visit:

Freedom of information