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Access to health records

All manual and computerised health records about living people are accessible under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the UK Data Protection Act 2018. Access must given equally to all records regardless of when they were made. Set out below is a brief summary of the main points of the Act.

Who can apply for access?

Patients may apply for access to their own records, or may authorise a third party, such as their lawyer, to do so on their behalf. Parents may access to their child's records if this is in the child's best interests and not contrary to a competent child's wishes.

Are there any exemptions?

Yes, the main exemptions are that information must not be disclosed if it is likely to cause serious physical or mental harm to the patient or another person; or if it relates to a third party who has not given consent for disclosure (where that third party is not a health professional who has cared for the patient).

Must copies of the records be given if requested?

Yes, patients are entitled to a copy of their records, for example a photocopy of paper records or a print out of computerised records.

Will a fee be charged?

No - generally not, unless the the request is "manifestly unfounded" or "excessive", which is expected to be a rare occurrence.

Applications for access

Nothing in the Act prevents doctors from giving patients access to their records on an informal and voluntary basis provided no other provisions of the Act preventing disclosure are breached. We would encourage patients to access their records online and this can be requested in person at the surgery or even electronically via SystmOnline. You will though need to come to the surgery so we can verify your identity before giving you online access to records.

We ask that applications for copies of records be made formally in writing to help us confirm the identity of the person making the request to and for us to keep a record. We have an application form for requesting copies of records. If you submit this the practice manager will contact you either by telephone or in writing to make arrangements.

Time limits for giving access

Access must be given promptly and in any event within 28 days.

If you have any other queries please contact the Practice Manager who will then speak to the appropriate doctor and contact you either by telephone or in writing. Your application will be dealt with promptly.

Updated Jul 2018