Medical records are private and confidential. You have the right to access your current medical record, although some exceptions do exist (see below).
Access to your own medical records is provided for under the General Data Protection Regulations 2018 and is known as a “right of subject access”. Applications to access health records of patients who have died are made under the Access to Health Records Act 1990.
What records can be accessed?
You can ask to access all of your written and electronic medical records, including x-rays and scans made by doctors and other health professionals.
Normally as a patient you have the right to access all of your existing medical record. You can also give consent for another person to access your records where they are acting on your behalf (e.g. a solicitor or executor of estate). Some exceptions to access may apply:
- When the record holder believes that providing access is likely to cause the patient, or another person, serious harm;
- When the record relates to, or had been given by, someone other than a health professional involved in the patient's care, unless that person has given their consent for the information to be released;
- When the record holder believes that a patient under 16 cannot understand what the application to see their records means;
- When a record shows an identifiable person was, or may have been, born following treatments defined in the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990;
- When to do so would involve disproportionate effort;
- When the record contains information the patient expressly stated must not be revealed.
Who can access a medical record?
- The person about whom the record has been made;
- A representative, provided they have the patient's consent (in writing);
- A parent or guardian of a child under 16, with the child's consent where applicable;
- A court appointed representative (who has power of attorney) of a patient who cannot handle their own affairs;
- A personal representative or anyone with a claim arising from a patient's death may see the part of the record relating to the claim.
How can I access the records?
Firstly you can ask the record holder (usually your doctor) to see what has been written in your records. This can be done when you next see them for an appointment.
Or, if you would like a copy of your records, please either fill out the attached application form or contact the Access to Records team by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or telephone 01245 514288 for further information.
Download: Access to Health Records Application form