Inverness dad's FOI request led to 'lazy eye' screening
- 10 January 2012
- From the section Highlands & Islands
A father successfully campaigned for screening for an eye condition in children after pursuing freedom of information (FOI) requests.
Stephen Wilson, from Inverness, found out that NHS Highland did not have a screening programme for amblyopia - "lazy eye" - through FOI requests.
The case has been highlighted in a special report by Scotland's Information Commissioner.
Kevin Dunion said it was an example of where the legislation was successful.
In his report to the Scottish Parliament, he said Mr Wilson had lodged FOI requests with NHS Highland following the diagnoses of his daughters with the eye condition.
The commissioner said: "He successfully campaigned for the introduction of local screening."
Mr Wilson told BBC Radio Scotland's John Beattie programme he made his requests after being told that his daughters should have received eye tests from an ophthalmologist, rather than a school nurse, once they turned five.
He said: "In 2009, my two daughters - a 10-year-old and a seven-year-old - were identified with 'lazy eye'.
"The eldest had it very severely."
Mr Wilson said the condition was not picked up at school.
His eldest girl's eyesight was deemed to be fine, but an optician later diagnosed "lazy eye".
Mr Wilson, who works in IT, said he used FOI legislation to first get access to a report that recommended that ophthalmologists should test school children's sight.
He said that 190 pages of emails were among the material he later obtained from NHS Highland as he followed a paper trail detailing the health board's response to the national report.
Mr Dunion is leaving his post after eight years in the role.
Other highlights in his report included mortality rates of Scotland's surgeons being disclosed.
Also, details of the PFI contract for the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh and information about US tycoon Donald Trump's planning application for an Aberdeenshire golf course.
However, Mr Dunion said more should be done.
He said many services offered by the Scottish government and local authorities were not subject to FOI.
These included companies building and maintaining trunk roads, private prisons and local schools, he said.
Mr Dunion said ministers should extend the law.