FOI Disclosure Stories March 27th-April 13th

GPs face bans on high-cost drugs – Pulse 12/04/11
GPs are being banned from prescribing high-cost drugs approved by NICE as NHS managers seek drastic savings on prescribing budgets. Responses from 134 PCOs under the Freedom of Information Act show that more than half have blacklists of drugs – in some trusts of more than 100 – that GPs are banned from prescribing.

Musa Kusa linked to lawyer’s killing in London – The Times 10/04/11 (subscription only)
Former Libyan foreign minister was linked to the murder of a Libyan lawyer in London, according to a previously unseen police report. The revelation, in documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, comes amid mounting pressure on the government to prosecute Kusa.

Britain Privatises war-zone intelligence… at a cost of £240m – The Times 08/04/11 (subscription only)
Intelligence in Afghanistan is being gathered by security companies as the contracting-out of military duties becomes much more commonplace. MPs are now examining the growing scope of the contracts, obtained by The Times under the Freedom of Information Act.

Salmon & Trout Association exposes sham of salmon farming industry claims – Salmon & Trout Association 07/04/11
Dossier of material obtained under freedom of information reveals alarming results of Government inspections of Scottish salmon farms including high levels of sea-lice – the major concern for wild fish conservation.

NHS missing out on £5.5m a year in potential savings – Royal College of Nursing 06/04/11
The Royal College of Nursing has revealed that the NHS could potentially save up to £5.5 million a year if health organisations improve the way they dispose of waste. The RCN submitted a Freedom of Information to investigate and subsequently produced a report, Freedom of Information report on waste management. Read the report here.

Rarer Cancers Foundation Report warns of growing cross-border divide in cancer services – Rarer Cancers Foundation 06/04/11
A new RCF report has found that patients in Wales are being denied life-extending cancer treatments which would be made available to them elsewhere in the UK. The figures have come to light under Freedom of Information requests.

Surgery blunders hospital tightens checks – Yorkshire Post 04/04/11
A hospital trust in Yorkshire has paid out a total of almost £1.2m in compensation to women who were left in pain and in some cases scarred for life after their breast operations were botched by the same surgeon. New figures obtained under FOI reveal that a total of £1,189,054 has been paid by the Foundation Trust to 26 women.

Met hacking inquiry chief dined with NOTW staff – The Independent 01/04/11
The police chief who headed Scotland Yard’s inquiry into phone-hacking dined with the News of the World at the height of his criminal investigation into the newspaper. Its disclosure in a Freedom of Information request prompted claims that the force had an unduly “cosy relationship” with News International.

Labour claims police officers will be forced to retire – BBC 29/03/11
Although police officers cannot be made redundant, officers with 30 or more years’ experience can be made to retire under existing regulations. Labour said details obtained under Freedom of Information showed 13 forces definitely intended to use this power and that 1,138 officers either have or will be forced to retire by 2015.

MoD pays £1.3m compensation to Afghans for death, injury and damage – The Guardian 28/03/11
Ministry of Defence payouts include £542 for a girl killed in a fire and £4,700 for a shop destroyed by a flare. The list of all claims that were settled or rejected in 2010 has been released after the Guardian made a freedom of information request to the MoD. Read the full list here.

‘This is damning evidence of the dangers of handing control of public services to private firms’ – The Herald 27/03/11
A massive £4.8 billion of public money is being paid to multinational corporations to run water-works that are plagued with breakdowns and pollution. Details of the problems are disclosed in hundreds of internal documents released by Scottish Water to an industry researcher at Strathclyde University under FOI laws.

Foreign Office ‘backed BP in Rosneft talks’ – The Sunday Telegraph 27/03/11
Efforts by BP to hammer out its $16bn (£10bn) share swap and Arctic exploration deal with Russian energy group Rosneft had the full support of the Foreign Office. A series of meetings between the British ambassador in Moscow and BP executives covering discussions about a Rosneft tie are listed in censored cables released under the Freedom of Information Act.

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