Freedom of Information in the news – week ending 15/4/22 – #FOIFriday

This week’s Freedom of Information ideas round-up is a bit truncated (as it’s a sunny bank holiday, and who has time to be sending FOIs on those!)

Long waits

Patients at Countess of Chester Hospital are waiting three years for treatment, Cheshire Live reports. The figures show that 15 patients have been waiting for treatment for more than three years at the hospital.

The longest period in time that a patient was waiting to start treatment at the hospital after being referred at the Countess of Chester waiting to start treatment currently stands at 194 weeks,.

This is a strong story for individual trusts but feels a bit like a missed opportunity as a round robin FOI as only 69 responses were obtained (less than half the hospital trusts in England). It’s missing some of the trusts with the biggest two year plus waiting lists (so the ones more likely to have people waiting three years and beyond), which makes it really hard to make comparisons about how bad the ones that did respond are.

Bad parker

Variation on the parking tickets FOI, instead of which street gets the most tickets, how many did the area’s worst parker get?

A driver in Cheshire was hit with a staggering 58 parking tickets over the course of one year, Stoke-on-Trent Live reports. The motorist’s fines from Cheshire East Council in 2021 totalled £3,320.

These were among 25,358 fines issued by the authority over the year, according to figures released following a freedom of information request. That amounted to £1,517,460. Fifty eight of those penalty charge notices (PCN) were issued to one car, mostly while it was in the Whalley Hayes car park in Macclesfield.

Potholes everywhere

Another bane of motorist’s existence (and no fun for cyclists either) are potholes. Greendykes Road has been named as the worst street in Edinburgh for pothole repairs, according to Edinburgh Live, after transport chiefs fixed almost 80 defects in the first three months of the year.

Engineers were called to mend a total of 79 fractured parts of the busy thoroughfare, which sits in the Portobello and Craigmillar ward, according to new data. The street beat Long Dalmahoy Road and Queensferry Road to claim top spot in the latest figures exploring the capital’s ‘most fixed’ locations.

Pothole damage

The need to keep potholes fixed is highlighted by this FOI that reveals the costs (in injuries and compensation) that can result from them.

Derby City Council has paid out more than £9,000 in compensation to a pedestrian who was injured after falling on a pothole in Lexington Road in Chaddesden, Derbyshire Live reports.

The council said it was “extremely sorry” for the incident which happened in February 2018. It is unclear whether the pedestrian was a woman or a female child. Lexington Road was previously dubbed one of the worst pothole-filled roads in the city with drivers having to “crawl along” the road to protect their vehicles.

The details have been published following a Freedom of Information request submitted to the council by a member of the public. The question asked how much money Derby City Council had paid out for property damage and/or personal damage caused by potholes in the financial year of 2020/21.

Lost property

Nine sex toys, six rounds of Viagra tablets, 81 wigs and 422 crutches were among items left behind on London’s public transport system last year, according to the Metro.

And while no-one went to lost property for their sex toys, two people popped up to reclaim their Viagra, Transport for London (TfL) said. TfL raised more than £160,000, as items left more than three months are donated to charity, binned or auctioned.

While this one might work best if you have a publicly owned transport system in your area, it potentially works for any service where the public might accidentally leave stuff behind.

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