A row over the disclosure of documents linked to the controversial decision to close the Leeds children’s heart surgery unit is continuing.
Coun John Illingworth has been demanding the release of documents under the Freedom of Information Act.
Some of it has been disclosed – but now he has been told that the cost of providing other information would be ‘excessive’.
The National Specialised Commissioning Team has aggregated all his questions submitted under the act and decided answering them would take too much time under the legal limit.
Now he is to complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office – the Government’s information watchdog – over their refusal.
The Leeds councillor said: “I am seeking an internal review of those most recent questions for which this is their first response.”
As previously reported in the Yorkshire Evening Post, Coun John Illingworth has been demanding the documents relating to the controversial decision.
NHS heads decided in July that LGI should lose its children’s heart surgery unit, with sick youngsters expected to travel to Newcastle instead.
Since then a Government-ordered review has been looking at the decision again.
And a High Court challenge by Leeds campaign group Save Our Surgery has been heard. The outcome is expected later this week.
Meanwhile reams of paperwork was eventually provided in response to Coun Illingworth’s requests, but not all of his queries have been answered.
In the latest letter in response to his requests, he has been told that his queries have been bundled together because they are in pursuit of a campaign and on the same theme.
It says: “It is clear that it will take us in excess of the applicable time limit to determine the appropriate material and locate, retrieve and extract the information in reference to your request.
“We estimate that handling the Requests will take at least 15 full working days (much more than the 18 hours prescribed under the Fees Regulations), and will involve multiple staff members. Therefore, the Requests will not be processed further.”
Coun Illingworth said he intended to challenge that decision.