Seventeen days after first posing questions via the Isle of Wight council, Public Health, NHS Data and now the Department for Health and Social Care have all failed to answer.
Bumped over to DHSC
On Thursday last week (28th May) News OnTheWight published details of questions posed via the Isle of Wight council to Simon Bryant, Director of Public Health IW and Geraint Lewis, head of Data at NHS Digital. At that point we’d already been waiting eight days for answers, but were then told we were being bumped over to the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).
The following day, Friday (29th May), News OnTheWight received an email from the Chief Communications Officer at the DHSC – quite an upgrade and most unexpected – asking how she could help. We sent her the questions.
DHSC: “Doing our best”
Then late in the afternoon we had a call from someone else in comms there. They explained that the data wasn’t available quite yet as a major evaluation of all the data was underway and that they were ‘doing their best’ to get the figures verified.
The spokesperson said the figures would be published this week. Now on Saturday (6th June), 17 days after first asking the questions, News OnTheWight has still not received responses to our straightforward public interest questions.
“The council received a “data dump” three times daily with information about users reporting symptoms through the app. They would then deliver tests to people’s homes and return the following day to pick up samples which were taken to the laboratory.”
The data dump would provide the answer to at least one of News OnTheWight’s questions, so we asked why the IWC had failed to answer it.
A spokesperson for Isle of Wight council explained,
“The data dump referred to in the article is medical information provided to the council for the purpose of supporting the test delivery/pickup service.
“It is not our data and we are not able to share that with the media, even if it does not provide personal information.”
Obstruction to the facts?
At a heightened time of importance for the public to have access to accurate reporting of the facts, these delays could be seen by some as obstruction to the facts.
These are not the only questions News OnTheWight has had trouble getting answered by the IWC. More to follow.