Epsom and St Helier hospitals do not spend money on porn for patients

Epsom and St Helier hospitals do not spend money on porn for patients

Epsom and St Helier hospitals do not spend money on porn for patients

First published in News This Is Local London: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Reporter

An unusual Freedom of Information request has revealed local hospitals do not buy pornography for patients.

A member of the public submitted a Freedom of Information request to Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust asking how much money it spends each year on pornography to aid men giving sperm samples.

However, the trust's response to the request was unequivocal: "This trust does not purchase pornographic material."

The person who submitted the request also asked for the names of any films the trust had purchased

Comments (7)

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7:43pm Fri 25 Jul 14

Alex_Bradford says...

I'm tempted to submit a Freedom of Information request to find out who* asked the question... but I won't because it will obviously divert even more of St. Helier's and the wider NHS's time and money away from what is important.

Whoever they are, I'm glad I don't share their mentality.

*And before anyone states the obvious, yes, I'm aware they are hiding behind the Data Protection Act, so an FOI request could not and would not name them anyway. The point is, this request is a misuse of the FOI Act.
I'm tempted to submit a Freedom of Information request to find out who* asked the question... but I won't because it will obviously divert even more of St. Helier's and the wider NHS's time and money away from what is important. Whoever they are, I'm glad I don't share their mentality. *And before anyone states the obvious, yes, I'm aware they are hiding behind the Data Protection Act, so an FOI request could not and would not name them anyway. The point is, this request is a misuse of the FOI Act. Alex_Bradford
  • Score: 9

9:47pm Fri 25 Jul 14

Nichu44 says...

I agree Alex. Most FOI requests seem to have the aim of finding a sensationalist story rather than increasing transparency to the public.
I think people are unaware that NHS trusts have to pay for staff to coordinate the FOI requests, plus there is the time taken out of front line staffs' busy schedules who often have to contribute answers to FOI requests instead of helping patients.
I agree Alex. Most FOI requests seem to have the aim of finding a sensationalist story rather than increasing transparency to the public. I think people are unaware that NHS trusts have to pay for staff to coordinate the FOI requests, plus there is the time taken out of front line staffs' busy schedules who often have to contribute answers to FOI requests instead of helping patients. Nichu44
  • Score: 9

12:25am Sat 26 Jul 14

Noddyblanket says...

Alex_Bradford wrote:
I'm tempted to submit a Freedom of Information request to find out who* asked the question... but I won't because it will obviously divert even more of St. Helier's and the wider NHS's time and money away from what is important.

Whoever they are, I'm glad I don't share their mentality.

*And before anyone states the obvious, yes, I'm aware they are hiding behind the Data Protection Act, so an FOI request could not and would not name them anyway. The point is, this request is a misuse of the FOI Act.
Totally agree, who'd even think to ask this? It's weird! Also even if some **** had been purchased I doubt very much they'd have a whole stock room full of it to chose from, and it's not that expensive away. I'd imagine, now my mind has had to think about it, that the man would take material of his own choice along with him. Honestly, some people. Gotta laugh!
[quote][p][bold]Alex_Bradford[/bold] wrote: I'm tempted to submit a Freedom of Information request to find out who* asked the question... but I won't because it will obviously divert even more of St. Helier's and the wider NHS's time and money away from what is important. Whoever they are, I'm glad I don't share their mentality. *And before anyone states the obvious, yes, I'm aware they are hiding behind the Data Protection Act, so an FOI request could not and would not name them anyway. The point is, this request is a misuse of the FOI Act.[/p][/quote]Totally agree, who'd even think to ask this? It's weird! Also even if some **** had been purchased I doubt very much they'd have a whole stock room full of it to chose from, and it's not that expensive away. I'd imagine, now my mind has had to think about it, that the man would take material of his own choice along with him. Honestly, some people. Gotta laugh! Noddyblanket
  • Score: 4

9:22am Mon 28 Jul 14

adrianshort says...

Under the Freedom of Information Act we have a right to know what government is doing. Exercising this right costs money. Some people want to know things that we don't care about or have motives that we don't share. But that's the whole point - it's not all about us as individuals but about the relationship that we collectively have with government. FOI is worth every penny because the alternative - no right to know - is unacceptable in a democracy.
Under the Freedom of Information Act we have a right to know what government is doing. Exercising this right costs money. Some people want to know things that we don't care about or have motives that we don't share. But that's the whole point - it's not all about us as individuals but about the relationship that we collectively have with government. FOI is worth every penny because the alternative - no right to know - is unacceptable in a democracy. adrianshort
  • Score: 2

12:27pm Thu 31 Jul 14

Alex_Bradford says...

adrianshort wrote:
Under the Freedom of Information Act we have a right to know what government is doing. Exercising this right costs money. Some people want to know things that we don't care about or have motives that we don't share. But that's the whole point - it's not all about us as individuals but about the relationship that we collectively have with government. FOI is worth every penny because the alternative - no right to know - is unacceptable in a democracy.
This is a plain misuse of the FOI Act. It's no different to making hoax or malicious 999 calls. The result is the same too - deliberate wastage of public resources and away from where they are most needed.

If people choose to drive irresponsibly, they lose their licence and their ability to drive on the road. If people who are given the power of the FOI Act choose to use it irresponsibly, they similarly need to lose that power.

The alternative is to do nothing! To sit back and watch the FOI Act itself being hijacked by an irresponsible few. Sooner or later, the unaffordable price of that utterly nugatory cost will threaten the future of the FOI Act itself. And that could end with a very sad day for Democracy.
[quote][p][bold]adrianshort[/bold] wrote: Under the Freedom of Information Act we have a right to know what government is doing. Exercising this right costs money. Some people want to know things that we don't care about or have motives that we don't share. But that's the whole point - it's not all about us as individuals but about the relationship that we collectively have with government. FOI is worth every penny because the alternative - no right to know - is unacceptable in a democracy.[/p][/quote]This is a plain misuse of the FOI Act. It's no different to making hoax or malicious 999 calls. The result is the same too - deliberate wastage of public resources and away from where they are most needed. If people choose to drive irresponsibly, they lose their licence and their ability to drive on the road. If people who are given the power of the FOI Act choose to use it irresponsibly, they similarly need to lose that power. The alternative is to do nothing! To sit back and watch the FOI Act itself being hijacked by an irresponsible few. Sooner or later, the unaffordable price of that utterly nugatory cost will threaten the future of the FOI Act itself. And that could end with a very sad day for Democracy. Alex_Bradford
  • Score: 1

2:00pm Thu 31 Jul 14

adrianshort says...

Alex_Bradford wrote:
adrianshort wrote:
Under the Freedom of Information Act we have a right to know what government is doing. Exercising this right costs money. Some people want to know things that we don't care about or have motives that we don't share. But that's the whole point - it's not all about us as individuals but about the relationship that we collectively have with government. FOI is worth every penny because the alternative - no right to know - is unacceptable in a democracy.
This is a plain misuse of the FOI Act. It's no different to making hoax or malicious 999 calls. The result is the same too - deliberate wastage of public resources and away from where they are most needed.

If people choose to drive irresponsibly, they lose their licence and their ability to drive on the road. If people who are given the power of the FOI Act choose to use it irresponsibly, they similarly need to lose that power.

The alternative is to do nothing! To sit back and watch the FOI Act itself being hijacked by an irresponsible few. Sooner or later, the unaffordable price of that utterly nugatory cost will threaten the future of the FOI Act itself. And that could end with a very sad day for Democracy.
No. No no no.

The FOI Act is "motive and applicant blind" - it doesn't matter who you are or why you want to request information. Public bodies are already empowered to refuse vexatious requests - ones that are made just to annoy the organisation responding. The spirit of FOI is that people have a right to know. Once you start slicing away things that you consider to be trivial then that right disappears and we end up back where we started - no right to know at all.

FOI isn't an emergency service like 999. It's a way for people to get information that hasn't otherwise been published by government. How much more expensive would it be if public bodies had to make value judgements about what was and wasn't worth knowing - and dealing with the inevitable appeals when the applicant doesn't like being refused?

Incidentally, you haven't explained what you find so objectionable about this particular request. It seems quite reasonable to me. How government spends public money is manifestly an issue of public interest and various people have all kinds of ideas on that.
[quote][p][bold]Alex_Bradford[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]adrianshort[/bold] wrote: Under the Freedom of Information Act we have a right to know what government is doing. Exercising this right costs money. Some people want to know things that we don't care about or have motives that we don't share. But that's the whole point - it's not all about us as individuals but about the relationship that we collectively have with government. FOI is worth every penny because the alternative - no right to know - is unacceptable in a democracy.[/p][/quote]This is a plain misuse of the FOI Act. It's no different to making hoax or malicious 999 calls. The result is the same too - deliberate wastage of public resources and away from where they are most needed. If people choose to drive irresponsibly, they lose their licence and their ability to drive on the road. If people who are given the power of the FOI Act choose to use it irresponsibly, they similarly need to lose that power. The alternative is to do nothing! To sit back and watch the FOI Act itself being hijacked by an irresponsible few. Sooner or later, the unaffordable price of that utterly nugatory cost will threaten the future of the FOI Act itself. And that could end with a very sad day for Democracy.[/p][/quote]No. No no no. The FOI Act is "motive and applicant blind" - it doesn't matter who you are or why you want to request information. Public bodies are already empowered to refuse vexatious requests - ones that are made just to annoy the organisation responding. The spirit of FOI is that people have a right to know. Once you start slicing away things that you consider to be trivial then that right disappears and we end up back where we started - no right to know at all. FOI isn't an emergency service like 999. It's a way for people to get information that hasn't otherwise been published by government. How much more expensive would it be if public bodies had to make value judgements about what was and wasn't worth knowing - and dealing with the inevitable appeals when the applicant doesn't like being refused? Incidentally, you haven't explained what you find so objectionable about this particular request. It seems quite reasonable to me. How government spends public money is manifestly an issue of public interest and various people have all kinds of ideas on that. adrianshort
  • Score: 0

11:39am Fri 1 Aug 14

Alex_Bradford says...

adrianshort wrote:
Alex_Bradford wrote:
adrianshort wrote:
Under the Freedom of Information Act we have a right to know what government is doing. Exercising this right costs money. Some people want to know things that we don't care about or have motives that we don't share. But that's the whole point - it's not all about us as individuals but about the relationship that we collectively have with government. FOI is worth every penny because the alternative - no right to know - is unacceptable in a democracy.
This is a plain misuse of the FOI Act. It's no different to making hoax or malicious 999 calls. The result is the same too - deliberate wastage of public resources and away from where they are most needed.

If people choose to drive irresponsibly, they lose their licence and their ability to drive on the road. If people who are given the power of the FOI Act choose to use it irresponsibly, they similarly need to lose that power.

The alternative is to do nothing! To sit back and watch the FOI Act itself being hijacked by an irresponsible few. Sooner or later, the unaffordable price of that utterly nugatory cost will threaten the future of the FOI Act itself. And that could end with a very sad day for Democracy.
No. No no no.

The FOI Act is "motive and applicant blind" - it doesn't matter who you are or why you want to request information. Public bodies are already empowered to refuse vexatious requests - ones that are made just to annoy the organisation responding. The spirit of FOI is that people have a right to know. Once you start slicing away things that you consider to be trivial then that right disappears and we end up back where we started - no right to know at all.

FOI isn't an emergency service like 999. It's a way for people to get information that hasn't otherwise been published by government. How much more expensive would it be if public bodies had to make value judgements about what was and wasn't worth knowing - and dealing with the inevitable appeals when the applicant doesn't like being refused?

Incidentally, you haven't explained what you find so objectionable about this particular request. It seems quite reasonable to me. How government spends public money is manifestly an issue of public interest and various people have all kinds of ideas on that.
FOI is exactly the same as the emergency services or any other public service in that it is publicly funded, and has limited resources, against a background of funding being increasingly squeezed. The cost of all these services is provided in the same way too, by taxation - i.e. working families picking up the bill. The cost of providing FOI certainly isn't growing on trees!

For most of us, it's pretty obvious from the question alone that this was a vexatious request. If there was any doubt, the answer confirms it was. That the request actually succeeded in diverting stretched public and NHS resources away from where they are needed is the most disturbing aspect: It clearly demonstrates that it is possible for those with ulterior motives to successfully hijack FOI.

Like any public service, FOI is something to be valued and preserved, not sabotaged and tarnished. Those who indulge in such activities (especially repeatedly) are undermining the spirit of FOI. And in my view, to preserve FOI, democracy and public service, those offenders simply need a blanket ban on their malevolent campaigns.
[quote][p][bold]adrianshort[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Alex_Bradford[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]adrianshort[/bold] wrote: Under the Freedom of Information Act we have a right to know what government is doing. Exercising this right costs money. Some people want to know things that we don't care about or have motives that we don't share. But that's the whole point - it's not all about us as individuals but about the relationship that we collectively have with government. FOI is worth every penny because the alternative - no right to know - is unacceptable in a democracy.[/p][/quote]This is a plain misuse of the FOI Act. It's no different to making hoax or malicious 999 calls. The result is the same too - deliberate wastage of public resources and away from where they are most needed. If people choose to drive irresponsibly, they lose their licence and their ability to drive on the road. If people who are given the power of the FOI Act choose to use it irresponsibly, they similarly need to lose that power. The alternative is to do nothing! To sit back and watch the FOI Act itself being hijacked by an irresponsible few. Sooner or later, the unaffordable price of that utterly nugatory cost will threaten the future of the FOI Act itself. And that could end with a very sad day for Democracy.[/p][/quote]No. No no no. The FOI Act is "motive and applicant blind" - it doesn't matter who you are or why you want to request information. Public bodies are already empowered to refuse vexatious requests - ones that are made just to annoy the organisation responding. The spirit of FOI is that people have a right to know. Once you start slicing away things that you consider to be trivial then that right disappears and we end up back where we started - no right to know at all. FOI isn't an emergency service like 999. It's a way for people to get information that hasn't otherwise been published by government. How much more expensive would it be if public bodies had to make value judgements about what was and wasn't worth knowing - and dealing with the inevitable appeals when the applicant doesn't like being refused? Incidentally, you haven't explained what you find so objectionable about this particular request. It seems quite reasonable to me. How government spends public money is manifestly an issue of public interest and various people have all kinds of ideas on that.[/p][/quote]FOI is exactly the same as the emergency services or any other public service in that it is publicly funded, and has limited resources, against a background of funding being increasingly squeezed. The cost of all these services is provided in the same way too, by taxation - i.e. working families picking up the bill. The cost of providing FOI certainly isn't growing on trees! For most of us, it's pretty obvious from the question alone that this was a vexatious request. If there was any doubt, the answer confirms it was. That the request actually succeeded in diverting stretched public and NHS resources away from where they are needed is the most disturbing aspect: It clearly demonstrates that it is possible for those with ulterior motives to successfully hijack FOI. Like any public service, FOI is something to be valued and preserved, not sabotaged and tarnished. Those who indulge in such activities (especially repeatedly) are undermining the spirit of FOI. And in my view, to preserve FOI, democracy and public service, those offenders simply need a blanket ban on their malevolent campaigns. Alex_Bradford
  • Score: 0

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