Freedom of Information Act and Environmental Information Regulations

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 provides a right of access to a wide range of information held by public authorities, including the NHS.

The Environmental Information Regulations 2004 provide a right of access to information relating to the environment, which is held by public authorities, including the NHS.

Personal information

If you want to request personal information, this is not a Freedom of Information (FOI) request.

There is a different way to make a request if you want information that an organisation holds about you. This includes things like your medical records.

Our duty to you

The Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 2000 and the Environmental Information Regulations (EIR) 2004 requires us to:

  • provide information to you which is held by NHS England
  • provide a guide to this information
  • respond appropriately to requests for information.

Before you request information from NHS England

Please check whether the information you seek is already available. We publish information on this website, and you may find the answer to your question is already here. Our publication scheme explains what information we currently release or expect to release.

If you request information from NHS England that is already published, we will refer you to the published source.

Who can request information?

Anyone, anywhere in the world, can make a FOI or EIR request to NHS England.

What can I request?

You can seek any recorded information that you think NHS England may hold.

You do not have to know whether the information you want is covered by the EIR or the FOI Act. When you make a request, we will decide which law applies. If the information is your own personal data, then you should make a subject access request under the Data Protection Act (DPA) 2018 not an FOI request.  Find out more information about how you can make a Subject Access Request.

How do I request information?

FOI requests must be in writing and can be either posted or emailed to NHS England.

For postal requests, please send to the following address:

NHS England, PO Box 16738, Redditch, B97 9PT

Send email requests to

EIR requests can also be submitted verbally or in writing, using the methods outlined above.

Please write “Freedom of Information” in the subject line of any FOI request.

If you would have difficulty making a written request, please call our customer contact centre on 0300 311 22 33.

What information must I include in my request?

The FOI Act requires certain information to be supplied before we can respond to your request:

  • Your real name – we do not have to respond to requests submitted under a pseudonym.
  • Your address (this could be your email addresses)
  • A description of the information you wish to obtain.
  • Any preferences for the format in which you wish to receive the information for example electronic or hard copy. We will endeavour to meet your preferences but cannot guarantee that we will be able to.

What you do not need to do

You do not need to:

  • explicitly mention the FOI Act or EIR, although it may be helpful
  • know whether the information is covered by the FOI Act or the EIR
  • say why you want the information
  • specify particular documents; you have a right to information, however it is recorded.

How should I word my request?

Comprehensive guidance on submitting requests is available from the Information Commissioner’s Office. However, we recommend the following.


  • Clearly identify the information you want. Be clear about date ranges or timescales. If it is not clear what you are requesting, we may need to seek further clarification from you.
  • Be as specific as possible. Ask questions such as “what” or “how much” as this is much more likely to result in a useful response.
  • Use straightforward, polite language.

Do not:

  • Use open-ended questions such as “why”. We do not have to answer your question if this would mean creating new information or giving an opinion or judgment that is not already recorded.
  • Base your request on assumptions or opinions.
  • Mix your request with complaints or comments.

What happens when my request is received?

We have a legal obligation to reply to your FOI or EIR request within 20 working days of receipt. We will do one of the following:

  • Supply you with the information you requested.
  • Inform you that we don’t hold the information and, if we are able, advise you who does.
  • Inform you that we hold the information requested but refuse to provide all or part of it and explain why, citing one or more of the exemptions from the FOI Act or exceptions under EIR where relevant.
  • Inform you that we need to extend the 20-working day deadline either to allow us to consider the Public Interest Test for FOI requests or if the request is considered particularly complex for EIR requests.

What can I do if I am unhappy with the response I receive or the way my request was handled?

You can ask us for an internal review of your FOI or EIR request. When you write to us requesting an internal review, we will acknowledge your request and tell you how long the review will take. We aim to complete internal reviews within 20 working days, although cases that are complex may take longer. Where internal reviews go over 20 working days, we will keep you informed of progress.

If, after an internal review, you are still not satisfied you can then complain to the Information Commissioner. For details of how to do this visit the ICO website.

Full details of how to ask NHS England for an internal review will be included in our initial response to your request.

Details of how to complain further to the Information Commissioner will be included in our response to your internal review request.