Under the Data Protection Act 1988 ‘everyone’ has the right to access/receive copies of their health records from a GP and/or hospital. A health record consists of information regarding your physical and mental health. Your records may include, but not limited to:
- Notes, handwritten or typed
- X-rays, scans, eeg’s
- Blood test results
- Medication reports
Where do I start with accessing my records?
Firsthand, a letter requesting to see your health records should be sent to your GP or hospital and we have attached a template letter which may help to get you started. It could be that you could just speak to your doctor about accessing the records, but it’s more advisable to put it in writing so your request has been documented.
Are my medical records held in one place?
Probably not so it may be that you have to contact your GP and hospital separately.
Do I have to state why I am requesting access?
There is no requirement to do this and it would be advisable not to.
Will I be charged a fee?
- A fee of up to £10 may be charged for records held on the computer.
- A fee of up to £50 may be charged for handwritten/paper records.
- A fee of up to £50 may be charged for records which are both on the computer and in paper form.
- Information that has been added 40 days prior to your request can be accessed free of charge.
How long will it take to receive a response?
A response has to be received within 40 days upon receipt of your written request. However bear in mind you may be sent additional forms to complete to prove your identification so the 40 days timescale may restart from when you return your completed forms.
Can I be refused access to any of the information?
The only time information may be held back is if they believe it could cause serious harm to your physical or mental health.
How do I apply for the records of my child?
A person with parental responsibility is entitled to access their child’s health records who is under the age of 16.
What if I read something that is incorrect?
You can write to them stating what information is incorrect and preferably give evidence to support your claim. It is not common practice for past records to be amended, however you can request a note to be put on your records identifying and explaining why you believe the information is incorrect.
Please be aware, you may be able to claim compensation if you have suffered physical, psychological, or financial damage because any information is incorrect, has been accidentally lost/damaged, or disclosed without your permission.
What if I am denied access?
You can either complain using the NHS complaints procedure, or contact the Information Commission’s Office if you believe they have breached the Data Protection Act.
In addition, whilst the above information is provided for the purpose of accessing health records from GP’s and hospitals, it is also relevant to dental and optician records, and can also be used to gain information from an employer if records have been held regarding your health.