Thursday, 8 March 2007

Modernising Medical Careers - deafening silence

Some naughty monkey has been emailing the Department of Health about MMC under the freedom of information act. Having probed and teased a little, it has been discovered that the Department is indeed withholding vital information from its stakeholders, the public:

"I can confirm that the Department does also hold correspondence in relation to consultations between Government Ministers and interested parties, including expert advice in the development of policy in this area. However, the Department considers that this information is exempt from disclosure under section 35 of the Freedom of Information Act for reasons set out below.

Section 35 covers the formulation of government policy. While the Department appreciates that there is a general public interest in the availability of information about public sector activity, this must be weighed against the public interest in officials being able to provide frank advice to Ministers in an environment that is as free as possible from public controversy on issues about which opinions may be strongly held. In this case, we have determined that the balance of public interest favours withholding the information."

This has been appealed via the appropriate channels and the most recent DOH comment is here:

"I apologise for the delay in replying to your recent email asking for the outcome of your internal review. Your internal review case is still being processed and you will be informed of the outcome as soon as the review is complete. We hope to send out the outcome by Friday 23rd March 2007 as opposed to 12th March 2007 due date (40 working days as stated on DH website for internal reviews). If we envisage any further delay, we will inform you. I am sorry for this delay."

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Seems a tad suspect that this is being stalled and stalled, maybe it's something to do with the current fiasco surrounding MMC and MTAS. It wouldn't be good for those MMC merchants if documents revealing their real intentions came out now, would it? I'll leave that for you to decide.

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