Access to Medical Records and Data Protection

Access to your own medical records

Under the Data Protection Act 1998, you have a legal right to apply for access to health information held about you. This includes information held by your GP on computer and in paper form. You do not have to give a reason for your request. You may apply to view your medical records or request a copy. A fee will apply to access your medical records and there is no facility for immediate access.

Third party access to medical records

Health records are confidential so you can only access someone else’s records if you are authorised to do so.

To access someone else’s health records, you must:

  • be acting on their behalf with their written consent, or
  • have legal authority to make decisions on their behalf (power of attorney), or
  • have another legal basis for access

Access to medical records of a deceased person

For deceased persons, applications are made under the Access to Health Records Act 1990 and only specific people have the right to apply:

  • The personal representative of the person who has died
  • Any person who may have a claim resulting from the person’s death

How do I make an application for access to medical records?

All requests must be made in writing or by completing an Access to Medical Records Request Form available from reception. For access to records of a third party or deceased person, the relevant consent/authorisation documents must also be supplied along with the payment.

If you wish to only view your medical records, you will be contacted to arrange an appointment whereby a healthcare professional will be present whilst you view your records.

Can my application be refused?

In certain circumstances, some parts of a medical record may be withheld or an application may be declined, for example if a healthcare professional believes that releasing the information may cause harm to your physical or mental health or that of another person.

We will refuse applications for access to third party records which do not have the appropriate consent.

How long will it take to obtain copies?

Under the Data Protection Act, requests for access to records should be met within 40 days however, we aim to respond within 21 days.

How much will it cost?

  • To view only (by appointment) – £10
  • Copies of electronic records – £10
  • Copies of paper notes/ records held both electronically and in paper form – £10 plus 49p per copy (up to a maximum of £50)

Data Protection

We need to hold personal information about you on our computer system and in paper records to help us to look after your health needs. Your doctor is responsible for their accuracy and safe-keeping. Please help to keep your record up to date by informing us of any changes to your circumstances.

Doctors and staff in the practice have access to your medical records to enable them to do their jobs. From time to time information may be shared with other NHS organisations and others involved in your care if it is necessary. Anyone with access to your record is properly trained in confidentiality issues and is governed by both a legal and contractual duty to keep your details private.

All information about you is held securely and appropriate safeguards are in place to prevent accidental loss.

In some circumstances we may be required by law to release your details to statutory or other official bodies, for example if a court order is presented, or in the case of public health issues. In other circumstances you may be required to give written consent before information is released – such as for medical reports for insurance, solicitors etc.

To ensure your privacy, we will not disclose information over the telephone or fax unless we are sure that we are talking to you.

Information will not be disclosed to family, friends, or spouses unless we have prior written consent, and we do not leave messages with others.