FOI 29918



Freedom of Information Disclosure Log

The NHSBSA's responses to Freedom of Information requests. read more


Open Government Licence 2.0 (United Kingdom) [Open Data]

FOI 29918

Thank you for your request for information about the following:

While they gave me the name of the outsourced entity (Crawford and Co) who were looking at the claims, and confirmed these were qualified medical practitioners they gave me no comfort they were;

  1. Qualified to review my issue

  2. Their names

  3. Their locations

  4. Why they do not wish to interview and see me

  5. The timescales involved. You have had my case since March………the delays are appalling, but I suppose not unexpected

  6. How many claims are you dealing with

  7. How many of those claims are dealing with the skin and dermatology complaint

Your request was received on 1st December 2022 and I am dealing with it under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.


Question 1

The Supplier contracted by NHSBSA makes their assessment independently of the NHSBSA and undertaking medical assessments is not an NHSBSA core function.

All claims are assessed by the independent medical assessment company with a consistent approach. Each case is considered on its own merits, by an experienced independent medical assessor. All of the independent medical assessors are General Medical Council (GMC) registered doctors with a license to practice. Medical assessors will consider clinical research, epidemiological evidence and the current consensus of expert medical opinion together with a claimant’s application and their medical records from their healthcare providers to make a clinical assessment on whether it is more probable than not that the vaccine has caused disablement, and if so, whether that disablement is severe.

Question 2 and 3

I can confirm that this information is held by the NHSBSA as it is included in the medical report received from the medical assessment supplier. All medical assessors are UK based. The name and location of the medical assessor is redacted before this report is disclosed to the claimant or their representative. Given this will allow the medical assessor to be identified and for the same reasons as detailed for the GMC number, this information would not be disclosed under the exemption in section 40 subsections 2 and 3A (a) of the Freedom of Information Act.

The expectation of the medical assessors is that they will remain anonymous and will therefore not be subject to contact or pressure from claimants or campaigning groups. Given the likelihood their name and location will identify the medical assessor there is a reasonable expectation that this information will not be disclosed under FOI.

Disclosing this information would be unfair and as such this would breach the UK GDPR first data protection principle. With regards to the Vaccine Damage Payment Scheme (VDPS) there have been concerns for the health and safety of medical assessors and staff administering the scheme.

Disclosure of the name and location is likely to result in considerable distress to the medical assessor. Therefore, this information falls under the exemption in section 40 subsections 2 and 3A (a) of the Freedom of Information Act. This is because it would breach the first data protection principle as:

a) it is not fair to disclose medical assessors’ personal details to the world and is likely to cause damage or distress.

b) these details are not of sufficient interest to the public to warrant an intrusion into the privacy of the medical assessor Please click the below web link to see the exemption in full.

In addition, the medical assessor has not consented to this disclosure.

Question 4

To date there have been no face-to-face consultations with claimants required to complete a VDPS medical assessment. The policy of the scheme requires assessments to be independent and every case to date an individual's medical records has been sufficient.

However, Schedule 2 of the contract with Crawford & Co ("the Supplier") sets out the policy if face-to-face consultation should be considered (see below for the relevant section). If, in exceptionally rare circumstances, if Crawford & Co believe a face-to-face consultation is needed, they can contact us to request this, providing a clear rationale for doing so. In this case we would engage with a suitable clinician ("appropriate Personnel") to seek their view to inform the medical assessment. For example, this could be a clinician involved in the care of the claimant. Any face-to-face consultation would not therefore be carried out by a Crawford & Co contracted medical assessor. It is vital that the medical assessor remains independent and impartial so that they can, having looked at all the evidence, make a fair, consistent, and complete assessment in each claim.

“Schedule 2 paragraph 3.2

(f) the Supplier may decide from time to time that there is a need to carry out a face-to-face consultation with a claimant in order to decide on the degree of disablement. It is not expected by the Buyer that face-to-face assessments will be a general requirement in delivering the Service.

(g) However, if the supplier believes that one is needed, they will need to:

(i) consult with the Buyer regarding the justification for a face-to-face assessment and give clear rationale for the need for one; and

(ii) agree with the Buyer appropriate procedures and safe-guarding measures for the meeting on a case-by-case basis; and

(iii) ensure that any face-to-face assessment is carried out by appropriate Personnel”

Question 5

I am writing to advise you that the information you requested is not held by the NHS Business Services Authority.

Due to the complex nature of each individual claim, we are unable to give a timescale as to when a conclusion will be reached.

The average, non-COVID-19 related claim takes around six months to process from the date we request a claimant’s medical records. This is because we need to wait for your GP, medical providers, local authorities, or other relevant healthcare providers to gather records and send them to us and this can take time. This can vary from case to case and a COVID-19 related claim may take longer.

Question 6

As of 9 December 2022 there are 2,871 live claims for the Vaccine Damage Payment Scheme.

Question 7

In order to determine if this information is held, we would need to manually interrogate the application forms and evidence provided to support claims.

Using a conservative estimate of 30 minutes per case (medical evidence can run to thousands of pages), we estimate that to interrogate all 2,871 claims, it would take approx. 1,435.5 hours to determine if we hold the information and to then provide a figure. In addition, the staff carrying out the search would lack the medical expertise to identify skin conditions.

Therefore, I estimate that the cost of complying with your request would exceed the non-central Government limit of £450. The limit has been specified in The Freedom of Information and Data Protection (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004 and represents the estimated cost of one person spending 18 hours in determining whether the NHSBSA holds the information, and locating, retrieving and extracting the information. Under Section 12 of the Freedom of Information Act, the NHSBSA is not obliged to comply with your request and I will not be processing your request further as it currently stands.

Data Queries

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The information supplied to you continues to be protected by the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 and is subject to NHSBSA copyright. This information is licenced under the terms of the Open Government Licence detailed at:

Should you wish to re-use the information you must include the following statement: “NHSBSA Copyright 2022” This information is licenced under the terms of the Open Government Licence:

Failure to do so is a breach of the terms of the licence.

Information you receive which is not subject to NHSBSA Copyright continues to be protected by the copyright of the person, or organisation, from which the information originated. Please obtain their permission before reproducing any third party (non NHSBSA Copyright) information.

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Last Updated January 3, 2023, 16:16 (UTC)
Created January 3, 2023, 16:10 (UTC)