Freedom of information

The Freedom of Information Act came into effect on 1 January 2005. The Act gives members of the public a general right of access to recorded information held by public authorities.

What information is available?

Any information held by The Royal Marsden at the time a request is received will be eligible for release unless it is covered by an exemption.

We proactively publish a wide range of information, the majority of which is available on this website. Please check to see if the information you are looking for is already available on this website or via our publication scheme before making a freedom of information (FOI) request. For example, you may find what you are looking here:

Patient confidentiality

The Freedom of Information Act does not change the right of patients to have their confidentiality protected. The Royal Marsden places great emphasis on the need for strict patient confidentiality. We will not divulge any information about a patient unless permission has been given by the individual or their next of kin.

How do I make a request?

Any person can make a request under the Act – there are no restrictions on your age, nationality, or where you live. Please ensure you:

  • put your request in writing (use our online FOI form or send a letter marked for the attention of the FOI Officer to our Chelsea hospital)
  • state clearly what information you want
  • include your name and address.

What happens when I make a request?

When we receive a request for information, we will consider the request and respond as soon as possible. This will be no later than 20 working days after receiving your request, or on receipt of any fee which is payable. The Act allows us to extend this deadline in certain limited circumstances if we are considering the public interest test.

Our reply will state whether we hold the information, and either provide the information you requested or explain why that has not been possible.

The information you receive

The Act does not place restrictions on how you may use the information you receive under it. However, it does not transfer the copyright of any information supplied under it.

If you plan to reproduce the information you receive you should ensure that you will not be breaching anyone's copyright by doing so. If you want to reuse copyright material belonging to The Royal Marsden you will need to request permission to do this using our online FOI form.

If your request is refused

Our aim is to make any information requested available to you unless there is a specific reason why we are unable to do so. If we withhold some or all of the information that you have asked for, we will explain why in our response to you. A request for information may only be refused if:

  • it is vexatious or repeated
  • it exceeds the cost limit as provided for in the Act
  • we have asked you for more information in order to meet your request and you have not provided it
  • it falls under one of the exemptions.

If we decide not to disclose information because of a qualified exemption we must:

  • confirm or deny whether we hold the information requested
  • have carried out a public interest test.

A public interest test decides whether disclosure of the requested information is more in the public interest than withholding it.

Absolute exemptions do not require us to confirm or deny whether the information is held, or to carry out the public interest test. An example of an absolute exemption is personal information about an individual.

If you are unhappy with our response

If you are unhappy with our response to your FOI request please let us know, giving your reasons. We will then review your complaint.

Although there is no statutory timeframe imposed on public authorities for the completion of this review, we aim to provide you with a response within four weeks of receiving your complaint.

If you remain dissatisfied following this review you can contact the Information Commissioner’s Office.

Find out more

Further information on the Freedom of Information Act can be found on the Information Commissioner’s Office website.


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