NHS Tayside – Register of Interests

The latest FOI Response (Internal Enquiry) from NHS Tayside (ated 29 October 2013)

NHS Tayside has now considered your request for review of the response provided to you on 18 September 2013.

Review
I have undertaken a review of the response that you have requested.

(1) NHS Tayside has confirmed that it has a Commercial Sponsorship Register but NHS  Tayside Board has decided to withhold information without citing any exemptions in FOISA and without explaining why the information is exempt from disclosure

We previously confirmed that although we held information related to Commercial Sponsorship this information was currently held in a format that was not suitable to be made available at this time to the public.

We are now actively converting our paper records into an electronic format to allow us to make this available publicly.

My intention is to write to you next week once I have received confirmation of when this will available.

(2) NHS Tayside has not supplied any POLICY that covers Business Conduct for all NHS Tayside Staff. NHS Circular MEL (1994) 48 Standards of Business Conduct For NHS Staff and the more recent ABPI Code of Practice for the Pharmaceutical Industry expect NHS Boards to have such Registers and asks that each NHS Board implements a policy so that staff are encouraged to register all payments or gifts or sponsored education from the Pharmaceutical Industry.

Please find attached a below a link of NHS Tayside’s Code of Corporate Governance. This document although not called a policy has the same status in NHS Tayside as our Policy documents. It is only the Board that can approve it and make changes to it

http://www.nhstayside.scot.nhs.uk/about_nhstay/governance/epos_395744.pdf

The relevant sections in NHS Tayside’s Code of Corporate Goverance which are applicable to your request are:

Section B Members’ Code of conduct
This section is for Members of Tayside NHS Board and its Committees and details how they should conduct themselves in undertaking their duties.

Section C Standards of Business Conduct for NHS Staff
This section of NHS Tayside Code of Corporate Governance provides instructions on those issues or matters which staff are most likely to encounter in carrying out their day to day duties.

This is not exhaustive and is supplementary to (and therefore should be read in conjunction with) the Standards of Business Conduct for NHS Staff [NHS Circular MEL (1994) 48] and A common Understanding: Guidance on Joint Working between NHS Scotland and the Pharmaceutical Industry [NHS Circular HDL (2003) 62].

The Standards of Business Conduct for NHS Staff will be incorporated into the contract of employment of each member of staff. Guidance regarding accepted practice in NHS Tayside is detailed in these Standards; however, professionally registered staff should also ensure they do not breach the requirements in respect of their Processional Codes of Conduct.

Section G Commercial Sponsorship Standards
These standards provide the framework for decision making regarding commercial sponsorship and all staff must adhere to these standards.

Please also find attached the following two documents:

1. An aide memoire email sent to NHS Tayside staff twice yearly:
**AIDE MEMOIRE** Section C of the NHS Tayside Code of Corporate Governance – Standards of Business Conduct for NHS Staff

Aide-Memoire-Tayside

2. A copy of Vital Signs an electronic notification system used in NHS Tayside to convey important information to all staff:

Vital Signs – Issue 498/May 2013 – Code of Corporate Governance 2013

Letter that requested the above Internal Review. Dated 18 September 2013:

Dear NHS TAYSIDE,
I am writing to ask NHS Tayside to REVIEW its response to my request of 24 May 2013. I am treating your response of the 18 September as the initial response to my request of the 24 May 2013.

I request a REVIEW as I am dissatisfied with the response of NHS Tayside for the following reasons:

  1. NHS Tayside has confirmed that it has a Commercial Sponsorship Register but NHS Tayside Board has decided to withhold information without citing any exemptions in FOISA and without explaining why the information is exempt from disclosure.
  2. NHS Tayside has not supplied any POLICY that covers Busines Conduct for all NHS Tayside Staff. NHS Circular MEL (1994) 48  Standards of Business Conduct For NHS Staff and the more recent ABPI Code of Practice for the Pharmaceutical Industry expect NHS  Boards to have such Registers and asks that each NHS Board implements a policy so that staff are encouraged to register all payments or gifts or sponsored education from the Pharmaceutical Industry.

I am requesting an INTERNAL REVIEW to answer the above questions and in accordance with MEL 48, to ask NHS Tayside to forward ALL extant registers of payments and hospitality from pharmaceutical industry/commerce, as recorded for all NHS Tayside employees (not just Board Members), for however long such registers go back, and  to ask that these are transferred to a publically open database in their entirety.

NHS Circular MEL (1994) 48 Standards of Business Conduct For NHS Staff has been around for nearly 20 years. In my view there is no excuse for any delay in NHS Tayside not making extant registers open to the Scottish public.

Yours sincerely,
Peter J Gordon

Full communication with NHS Tayside can be found here: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/register_of_payments_from_pharma_163#incoming-444304

Alex Neil, Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing, on this matter:

Alex-Neil-on-Reg-of-Interes

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