Freedom of information

What is the Freedom of Information Act 2000?

The Freedom of Information Act allows certain information held by public authorities to be accessible to the public and also gives the public the right to ask for information.

As a trust we comply with the Freedom of Information Act by following a strict publication scheme. We also respond to requests for information from members of the public. 

  • Publication scheme - see below
  • Quick links – class definition document - see below

How to make a request 

You can submit a request by emailing or send a letter to:

FOI officer
Trust headquarters
The Princess Alexandra Hospital
Hamstel Road
CM20 1QX  

We are unable to provide any patient information or records via the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Any requests for your own, or another individual's records, should be submitted to our health records team by emailing

Publication scheme

This publication scheme has been prepared using the model publication scheme issued by the Information Commissioner’s office and is effective from 1 January 2012.

This publication scheme commits the Trust to make information available to the public as part of its normal business activities. The information covered is included in the classes of information mentioned below, where this information is held by the authority.

Who we are and what we do

The Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust is a district general hospital which oversees services at The Princess Alexandra Hospital, St Margaret’s Hospital, Herts and Essex Hospital and the Rectory Lane Centre. The Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust fits into the East Herts and West Essex footprint and serves a rapidly increasing population of 350,000.

We provide general services to patients throughout the East Herts and West Essex area. Our services are categorised under the following divisions:

•   Surgery

•   Medical

•   Cancer, cardiology and clinical support services

•   Family and women’s services.

Our (non-clinical) directorates are:

•   Corporate services

•   Estates and facilities

•   Procurement

•   Finance

•   People


All services are managed by the board of directors. The board of directors is responsible for the day-to-day management of the hospital and oversight of staff. The board of directors is made up of the following:

  • Executive directors and non-voting directors who work in the hospital on a daily basis and have management of a set area of the Trust business.
  • Non-executive directors who have specialist experience and bring independent oversight of the board's activities.

The board of directors meets on a monthly basis, on the last Thursday of every month. The trust board holds a public session at every meeting. If you would like to attend this session or submit any questions, you should contact Heather Schultz, head of corporate affairs, at An Annual General Meeting is held on a yearly basis and is open to members of the public.

Board sub-committees:

The board delegates authority to six sub-committees. Each sub-committee takes responsibility for a specialist area and provides assurance to the board on the effective function of these areas. They also report back on any issues and provide oversight of steps taken to manage these issues and ensure the highest standards are maintained.

  • Quality and safety committee - The quality and safety committee provides assurance to board that adequate and appropriate governance structures, processes and controls are in place throughout the Trust to enable it to deliver a quality service according to each of the dimensions of quality set out in High Quality Care for All and enshrined through the Health and Social Care Act 2012. It provides oversight of clinical effectiveness, safety and patient experience. It also oversees the Care Quality Commission (CQC) action plan and receives patient stories on a regular basis.
  • Performance and finance committee – The performance and finance committee is responsible for reviewing the Trust’s annual business plan and recommending to board. They also undertake bi-annual reviews of performance against the plan, scrutinise operational and financial performance, assure the board of directors that the Trust has rigorous processes in place to prioritise its finance and resources and make decisions about their deployment to ensure that they best meet patients’ needs, deliver best value for money and are efficient, economical, effective and affordable – recommending any re-basing or re-forecasting of financial assumptions or plans to the board, monitor the management of the Trust’s asset base and the implementation of the Trust’s enabling strategies in support of the Trust’s clinical strategy and clinical priorities, review and monitor the management of finance, performance and contracting risks.
  • Audit committee - The audit committee provides the board of directors with an independent and objective review of financial and corporate governance, assurance processes and risk management across the whole of the Trust’s activities (clinical and non-clinical) both generally and in support of the Annual Governance Statement. In addition, it shall oversee the work programmes for external and internal audit and receive assurance of their independence alongside the day to day monitoring of the Trust’s arrangements for corporate governance.
  • Charitable funds committee – The Princess Alexandra Hospital was appointed trustee of the charitable funds of the Trust. The charitable funds committee was established to make and monitor the control and governance arrangements of the charitable funds. They further provide oversight of the fund holders' charitable expenditure and fundraising schemes.
  • Workforce committee – The workforce committee is responsible for reviewing the Trust’s workforce plans including recruitment and retention of staff, organisational development and training, and employee engagement and wellbeing. They also oversee the development of the Trust’s people, development and deployment and organisational development strategies and monitor their implementation. The committee reviews the outcomes of national and local staff surveys and monitors the progress of action plans. Also, they monitor staff engagement initiatives and outcomes.
  • New hospital committee – The new hospital committee was established to ensure the success delivery of the new hospital programme. The committee has responsibility over the programmes governance arrangements, budget and core aims and objectives.

What we spend and how we spend it

  • On a yearly basis, the Trust is required to publish its audited annual accounts, which are included in the Annual Report.
  • Financial performance is reported to board on a monthly basis and is available in the board papers.
  • Staff pay is set out in the NHS Terms and conditions service handbook. Details of senior staff pay is included in the Annual Report.
  • Further to the Government’s initiative to increase transparency around public spending, we publish monthly details of expenditure over £25,000.

What our priorities are and how we are doing

Performance ratings:

How we make decisions

The Trust aims to provide as much information as possible on any proposed changes or difficulties the Trust is facing. This is usually discussed within the Trust board meetings. Before any major changes are made, the Trust will consult with its governing body as well as health group leads and the Patient Panel, who also sit on the quality and safety committee.

Before approval of any key change is made, it will be passed through the relevant committees and recommended to board. These committees will seek clarification, and evidence of the scheme's effectiveness or express concern. Only once a scheme has been finalised at this committee will it be recommended to board for approval.

Our policies and procedures

Our policies and procedures are available on request through the Freedom of Information Office at

List and registers

The services we offer

We have a dedicated Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) which is the first contact point for questions, concerns and suggestions about our services and provides support to patients, their families and visitors including interpreting and advocacy services. Details of the services offered by the PALS team are available here.

Latest news on the hospital is available on the news and media section.

Quick links – class definition document

The publication scheme comprises seven classes of information (known as definition documents) which can be accessed by clicking on the designated links below.

Who we are and what we do

  1. About us
  2. How our trust is led
  3. How to contact us

What we spend and how we spend it

  1. Annual Reports and Accounts
  2. Annual Audit Letter
  3. Transparency Reports
  4. Board expenses
  5. Staff pay and grading structures (included in the Annual Report)
  6. Funding - See the relevant section in the Annual Accounts

What our priorities are and how we are doing

  1. Our vision and values
  2. Our objectives
  3. Equality and diversity
  4. Annual Reports
  5. Charity
  6. Quality Account
  7. Care Quality Commission rating
  8. Safe staffing levels (included in public trust board papers)
  9. Service user surveys - we participate in the NHS Patient Survey Programme

How we make decisions

  1. Trust board papers

Our policies and procedures

  1. Trust policies are available on request

Lists and registers

  1. List of contractors and suppliers - available on request
  2. Register of interests declared by trust board members

The services we offer

  1. Our services
  2. Our wards
  3. Patient experience team
  4. Information pamphlets - clinical information pamphlets are available on request
  5. News and events

Inpatient comment:

Everyone offered words of such reassurance and kindness. I felt so cared for and the communication with me at all times was fantastic.