Freedom Of Information Policy

(including Model Publication Scheme)

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 provides public access to information held by public authorities.

It does this in two ways:

  • Public authorities are obliged to publish certain information about their activities
  • Members of the public are entitled to request information from public authorities.

The Act covers any recorded information that is held by a public authority in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and by UK-wide public authorities based in Scotland. Public authorities include government departments, local authorities, the NHS, state schools and police forces. Recorded information includes printed documents, computer files, letters, emails, photographs, and sound or video recordings.

The Act does not give people access to their own personal data (information about themselves) such as their health records or credit reference file. If a member of the public wants to see information that a public authority holds about them, they should make a separate data protection subject access request.

The main principle behind freedom of information legislation is that people have a right to know about the activities of public authorities, unless there is a good reason for them not to.

Anyone can make a freedom of information request – they do not have to be UK citizens, or resident in the UK. Freedom of information requests can also be made by organisations. Employees of a public authority can also make requests to their own employer.

The practice ensures that employees are provided with appropriate training to ensure that due attention is given to the recording of information that may become available to the public. The PA team and Service Quality Lead are also trained to manage the receipt and processing of an information request in a timely manner.

Downend Health Group maintains a comprehensive, Independent Model Publication Scheme (Appendix A) that provides readily accessible information thus reducing the amount of Freedom Of Information Act requests. Any information that is not published under the Model Publication Scheme can be requested in writing to the Executive Manager, where it’s provision will be considered in accordance with the guidance set out in the Freedom Of Information Act.

Further information can be found using the following links:

Appendix A: Downend Health Group Model Publication Scheme 2020


Guide to Information provided by GPs under the model publication scheme

Under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 all public authorities are required to have and operate a publication scheme approved by the Information Commissioner. Doctors providing medical services under most contracts with the NHS in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are public authorities in respect of information relating to those services.

It is the intention of the Information Commissioner that all public authorities should adopt and operate the one model scheme that has been approved. This is a very general scheme based on the principal that all public authorities need to recognise the public interest in the transparency of the services provided for and paid for by the general public. It is a commitment to make information easily available to the public.

Note: The scheme is only for information held as a public authority and does not include any information that is not held, is held for other purposes or would be exempt from release.

The scheme requires three documents to be considered:

  • The model scheme itself;
  • Our guidance on adopting and operating the scheme; and,
  • A guide provided by the public authority indicating what information will be provided, how it will be provided and whether any charge will be made for its provision.

Downend Health Group has adopted the Information Commissioner’s Office template to ensure that information is provided in accordance with guidance. The main purpose of this scheme is to make the maximum amount of information available at the minimum inconvenience and cost to the public. Whilst the model publication scheme is free of charge, Downend Health Group reserves the right to charge an administrational charge for providing certain information. These charges will apply to photocopying, printing, postage and any direct costs incurred as a result of viewing information. Photocopying is charged at 30p per sheet and postage costs are in accordance with Royal Mail standard charges at the time of request. Payment is required for any chargeable documentation before the information is released.

The majority of information can be found, free of charge on the DHG website or in the waiting rooms of each practice, however if you are unable to find the information that you are specifically seeking, please contact the Executive Manager in writing with your requirements. It is important to note that in exceptional circumstances, some information will only be available by viewing in person. In such occurrences’ an appointment will be arranged within a reasonable timescale.

Our commitment to publish information excludes any information which can be legitimately withheld under the exemptions set out in the NHS Openness Code or the Freedom Of Information Act.

Downend Health Group welcomes feedback from the community. If you have any comments regarding the operation of this publication scheme or how we have dealt with your request for information please forward them in writing to the Executive Manager. 

Information To Be Published

Class One: Who We Are And What We Do

Under contract to the NHS, Downend Health Group provides medical services to the locality within and surrounding the Downend area of Bristol. A detailed boundary guide to the geographical area covered is available on the practice website.

The group successfully merged Christchurch Medical Centre and Willow Surgery in April 2018 and now operates from two different locations. The patient population covers a diverse range of population groups, with a high prevalence of elderly patients and those with LTC’s.

Due to COVID restrictions, Downend Health Group is currently open 5 days a week, address information and opening hours are detailed below:

Christchurch Surgery
North Street 
BS16 5SG
Tel: 0117 970 9500

Willow Surgery
Hill House Road
BS16 5FJ
Tel: 0117 970 9500

or email us using our secure online form

On occasion the practice meets with medical suppliers and pharmaceutical companies. These meetings are a valuable opportunity to receive information on new medical/pharmaceutical breakthroughs that may benefit the patient. The practice keeps a detailed log of such meetings (this includes the name of the company, the staff member(s) attending and the date) and is available on request via the Executive Manager.

The practice produces an annual Practice Development Plan which details future aims and objectives.

In addition the practice continues to participate in the Quality And Outcomes Framework (QOF). The practice performance under QOF can be found via the NHS Digital website

Opening Times

Our opening times are available on our opening times page

Due to COVID restrictions extended hours are now being offered between 7.30-8.00am, Monday to Friday at both Surgeries. The extended hours we offered during 18.30-19.30pm Monday to Thursday at Willow Surgery have currently been suspended.

Due to COVID restrictions the Improved access hours we offered 8.30-11.45am at weekends at Christchurch Surgery and 18.30 -20.00pm on occasional Friday evenings at Christchurch Surgery have been suspended. Improved Access hours are now being offered during our core hours within additional GP sessions.

All consultations are conducted in English, however the practice uses Language Line if translation services are necessary. Extra emphasis is placed on communicating with patients with sensory impairments or learning disabilities.

Any information held at the practice is retained and destroyed in accordance with NHS guidelines. 

Staff Structure

Executive Board

  • Includes GP Partners and Executive Managers


  • GP members & Clinical Pharmacist

Executive Managers

Senior Management Team

  • Clinical Rota Manager
  • Facilities Lead
  • Finance Manager
  • Human Resources Lead
  • IT Lead
  • Medical Records Manager
  • Medicines Team Manager
  • NHS Contracts Manager
  • Patient Assistant Manager
  • Patient Experience Lead
  • QOF Lead
  • Scheduled Care Nurse Manager
  • Urgent Care Manager

Clinical Team

  • Salaried GP’s
  • Clinical Pharmacists
  • Paramedics
  • Nurses
  • Phlebotomists
  • Health and Well-Being Coach
  • Clinical Care Co-Ordinators
  • Trainee Nursing Associate
  • Health Care Assistants
  • Social Prescribers

Non Clinical Team

  • Secretaries
  • Patient Assistants
  • Medicines Management Team
  • Administration Team 

Class Two: What We Spend And How We Spend It

The practice receives money in accordance with the Personal Medical Services Contract held with NHS England and CCG in exchange for services provided to the patients. Downend Health Group maintains financial data relating to the following:

  • Income relating to the activities of DHG
  • Income relating to DHG’s participation as part of the network 4 PCN
  • Partner Drawings
  • Procurement
  • Staff Expenditure
  • Non-Pay Expenditure
  • Contracts
  • Declaration of GP’s NHS income (available on the practice website). 

The above information is available on written request to the Executive Business Manager.

In 2019 the practice received additional funding to make clinical improvements to the premises. This funding was used to create a new clinical area to the second floor of the Christchurch Surgery building. 

Class Three: What Are Our Priorities And How Are We Doing

The practice priority is to provide the best possible, high quality service to our patients within a caring, supportive, safe and confidential environment. Emphasis is given to show respect and courtesy at all times and to involve patients in the decision making process regarding their treatment and care.

Communication is key to promoting good health and wellbeing to patients and the practice ensures that information is readily accessible in different formats.

Downend Health Group aims to be a first class, primary care provider that meets the needs of all of the patients.

After a CQC telephone consultation with the inspector Yogiraj Ragoo in July 2019, the practice received written confirmation that DHG had passed the relevant parameters and a further inspection would not be necessary for at least 12 months. The practice aspires to surpass the fundamental requirements of CQC, through striving for excellence and searching for new areas of improvement and growth. In addition, Downend Health Group endeavours to reach set targets and maintains performance data on any given objective.

Details of the previous, full CQC inspection and subsequent report are available on request in writing to the Executive Manager.

The NHS website provides details of the practice performance and patient satisfaction.

Class Four: How We Make Decisions

The varying departments, including clinical, management, multi-disciplinary and administrational teams within Downend Health Group meet at scheduled times throughout the year. This time is used to discuss performance, arising issues and any future action. The meetings are documented in minute form and stored electronically.

Copies of these minutes are available on written request to the Executive Manager. 

Class Five: Our Policies and Procedures

Downend Health Group has a fully comprehensive electronic policy, procedure and protocol library in place to manage how to deliver services and responsibilities. The policies cover a very broad spectrum from the expectations on customer service, to employment, to health and safety within the workplace. These policies are both learning guides and instruction tools. They are circulated to all staff for guidance and all documents are reviewed on an annual basis.

The policy list includes, but is not limited to the following documents:

  • DHG Received Payment For Services Policy
  • DHG Making & Using Visual & Audio Recordings of Patients Guidance And Protocol
  • DHG Willow Surgery CCTV Policy
  • DHG Promoting & Offering E Referral Choice Policy
  • DHG Good Practice Guidelines
  • DHG Quality Improvement Statement
  • DHG Proxy Access Policy
  • DHG Patient Access To Detailed Care Records
  • DHG Patient Data Sharing Protocol
  • DHG Research Ethics With In General Practice
  • DHG Third Party Medical Report Request Protocol
  • DHG Incident Management Procedure
  • DHG Data Security Protection Policy
  • DHG Notification Of Death Protocol
  • DHG Equality & Diversity Policy
  • DHG Health & Safety Policy
  • DHG Equality Act; Christchurch Surgery
  • DHG Equality Act; Willow Surgery
  • DHG Late Arrivals Policy
  • DHG Significant Event Policy
  • DHG Violent & Aggressive Patient Policy
  • DHG Anti Bribery & Corruption Policy
  • DHG Cultural & Religious Policy For Staff & Patients
  • DHG Patient Participation Leaflet
  • DHG DNA Policy
  • DHG Patient Communication Policy
  • DHG Comments & Complaints Policy
  • DHG Patient Information Statement
  • DHG Confidentiality & Security Policy

Copies of any of the above policies are available on request in writing to the Service Quality Lead. 

Class Six: Lists and Registers

Downend Health Group holds a register on gifts offered to the practice staff. This register is available on request in writing to the Executive Manager.

The practice does not maintain any other publicly available register, all other lists remain confidential. 

Class Seven: The Services We Offer

Downend Health Group employs highly skilled staff to provide the best level of care and service to its patients. The practice has a family ethos and employees are well supported and encouraged to develop in their roles. They follow regular training programmes and some clinical staff explore areas of particular interest and specialise in certain fields that include the following;

  • Diabetes
  • Substance misuse
  • Military veteran support
  • Dermatology
  • Minor operations
  • Female contraception
  • End of life care
  • Wound management
  • Learning disabilities
  • Safeguarding
  • Female genital mutilation
  • Travel immunisation
  • Women’s Sexual Health
  • Baby immunisation
  • Management of chronic disease
  • Respiratory
  • Re-assigned gender

In addition to routine GP appointments offered by the practice, the following services are also available to patients at Downend Health Group;

  • Carers Support
  • Phlebotomy
  • Patient Participation Group
  • Contraception
  • Substance Misuse
  • Dietician
  • Vasectomy
  • Insurance Medicals
  • Sexual Health
  • Support to stop smoking
  • Travel Clinic

Some of these services are not included in the NHS provision and may incur a charge. Please contact a member of the reception team for further information and up to date fees.

Information leaflets pertaining to the services offered both by the practice and external agencies can be found in the waiting rooms of both surgeries. Further useful information and links to other services can be found on the practice website.