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Accessing your Medical Records
At any point during the NHS Complaints Procedure you can apply to see your medical records. Under the Data Protection Act 1998 you have a right to see your records unless:
- Your doctor thinks that to do so would seriously harm you or another person.
Note: This refusal can apply to only part of your records and there is no obligation to inform you of this. It is worth asking if all, or only part of your records are not being made available.
- Providing them would involve “disproportionate effort” on the part of a Trust or GP Practice.
Note: Disproportionate effort is not defined, but the Data Protection Information Commissioner has warned against abuse of this clause to block access to medical records.
How to apply to see your Medical Records
Contact your NHS Trust or GP Practice and ask for an application form. You may have to pay a fee of up to £10. Your records should be made available within 40 days of your application, or 21 days if they have been added to within the last 40 days.
If you want copies of your records, you may be charged up to a maximum of £50 (including the initial £10 charge if requested).
Applying to see someone else’s records
You must have the person’s permission in writing. This includes parents applying to see their child’s records. If the person is unable to give permission (because of incapacity or illness) you may need to seek legal advice and get a court's authorisation.
If the person is deceased their medical records can only be obtained by a personal representative (usually an executor, or someone making a claim arising from the death). However, if the deceased has specifically requested in their records that they do not want this person to see their records, permission may be refused.
Explanations and inaccuracies in Medical Records
Trusts and GP Practices have to explain to you anything in your records that is not easy to read, or which uses technical language that you do not understand.
If you think your records are inaccurate, you can ask for them to be corrected. If the Trust or doctor disagrees with the changes you want to make you can ask for a note recording your disagreement to be attached to the records.
Any complaint about changing your Medical Records can be made to:
The Information Commissioner's Office
tel: 01625 545 745