Monday, September 14, 2009

FOI Disclosure Stories 7 -13 September 2009

Lobby forces details out of FSA - Environmental Health News 10/09/09
“The Food Standards Agency has been forced to publish details of a presentation made by fast-food giant McDonald’s as part of a campaign to change guidance on burger cooking times following a challenge under the Freedom of Information Act. Guidelines issued by the chief medical officer in 1998 state that fast-food burgers should be cooked at 70ºC for at least two minutes, or an equivalent time and temperature combination. US guidance allows for much shorter cooking times… McDonald’s made a presentation in 2006 on the case for reducing cooking times…”

How PCTs use undercover 'mystery shoppers' to assess GPs - Pulse 09/09/09
“Primary care trusts are aggressively ramping up use of ‘mystery shoppers’ as a way of assessing local GP services, with some throwing tens of thousands of pounds at undercover projects... Information obtained under the Freedom of Information Act from 110 PCTs shows one in three have either already used mystery shoppers to assess GPs, or are likely to do so shortly. Trusts are employing patients or using PCT staff to carry out covert checks, with one spending £25,000 on undercover checks over six months.”

Britons' Torture Claims Ignored By London - Sky News 09/09/09
“Foreign Office emails, obtained by Sky News, have revealed officials failed to act after two British men claimed to have been tortured and forced to confess to murder. The correspondence, released under the Freedom of Information Act, shows that officials took months to follow up the claims against Pakistani police… The disclosure of the internal messages contradicts claims by the FCO earlier this year that officials had 'actively sought' to raise the allegations with Pakistani authorities.”

Critically ill patients lack hospital bed - The Times 08/09/09
“Almost 2,000 critically ill patients were discharged early from NHS intensive care units last year because of a shortage of beds, the Conservatives have claimed. Data from eight out of ten hospital trusts in England suggests that a further 20,000 patients had their discharge from intensive care delayed because there were no suitable beds in other wards to which they could be transferred.”


University Press in £330k expenses row - Cambridge Evening News 11/09/09
“Seven directors at Cambridge University Press clocked up nearly £330,000 in travel and ‘entertaining expenses - in the same year the firm laid off around 50 staff. Figures released under the Freedom of Information Act show 2008/09 spending by the chief executive and Press board came to £294,439 for travel and £33,911 for entertaining.”

NIO 'abandoned' victims' Libya compensation bid - Belfast News Letter 10/09/09
“Secretary of State Shaun Woodward's department told the Government that it should not support Ulster victims' fight for compensation from Libya despite the Secretary of State's responsibility to represent Northern Ireland's interests to the Cabinet. Foreign Office files released to the News Letter under the Freedom of Information Act reveal that both the Foreign Office and the Northern Ireland Office (NIO), decided that the Government should not even diplomatically ask Libya to compensate its UK victims, the majority of whom are from the Province.”

Delayed: platforms for Waterloo commuters will not arrive until 2014
- London Evening Standard 10/09/09
“Commuters will have to wait until 2014 before the former Eurostar platforms at Waterloo station are adapted for suburban trains, it emerged today. Ministers came under fire for ‘dithering’ as the Department for Transport revealed in a Freedom of Information document that it would be years before the former Waterloo International was adapted for commuter use. When the Eurostar terminal closed two years ago, the Government said that at least one of its five platforms would be in use by last December.”


Shocking scale of cocaine use in Scotland revealed as cops bust boy aged 11 for possession – The Daily Record 08/09/09
“A boy aged 11 has been arrested in possession of cocaine, the Record can reveal. The shock case highlights an alarming boom in the drug's use in Scotland. New figures confirm the number of people arrested for cocaine possession in Strathclyde more than doubled between 2004-5 and last year - from 674 to 1751.”

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