The standard response the NHS makes to any requests for information which might prove embarrassing is to decline on the basis that to comply would risk infringing the Data Protection Act.
All such cases should be referred to the Information Commissioner who polices both Acts.
In my view, DoH staff and NHS managers who make poor excuses so as to resist complying with the Freedom of Information Act and/or the Code of Practice on Openness in the NHS should face disciplinary proceedings similar to those conducted by the GMC.
Giving the public access to such hearings and allowing reporting would help cure the sleaze which is so much a part of the NHS in the 21st century.
Dr John Cormack, South Woodham Ferrers, Essex.