DoH will not release documents about NHS reform risks

The DoH will not release documents about the risks of the NHS reforms as ministers fear it would 'seriously undermine confidence' in the reorganisation.

Lord Howe: 'Exposing that kind of information could cause needless concern'
Earlier this month the Information Commission ruled that the DoH breached the Freedom of Information Act by failing to provide a copy of the NHS reform risk register requested by former shadow health secretary John Healey. The DoH had until 6 December to release the documents.

But Lord Howe has said that the DoH would be appealing against the Information Commission’s decision.

He said he was unsure how long the appeal would take, but estimated the process should be concluded ‘reasonably early’ next year.

He said: ‘The whole purpose of the risk register is to record all risks, even the unthinkable and highly unlikely. Exposing that kind of information could cause needless concern, set hares running and seriously undermine confidence in the programme of work.’

But Labour peer Baroness Thornton said the DoH’s decision is ‘very disappointing’.

She said: ‘What he [Lord Howe] is saying is that the government is choosing what to disclose and what it does not. That’s an issue of trust: whether of not we can trust we will know what we need to know to make judgements about whether the Bill will work or not.

‘What are the risks we cannot know about? That is a matter of grave concern to the committee indeed.’

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