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Accessing Medical Records

Accessing your medical records

Patient medical records include any records kept by a GP, hospital, clinic or other NHS service or staff member such as a dentist or physiotherapist.

They show the dates of consultations (in person and over the phone) and the details of your care and treatment including: medication; tests and test results; diagnosis; referrals made to other services; letters, reports and emails.

All NHS staff have a duty to keep all records safe and confidential.

Your rights

Under current law, including the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) [Regulation (EU) 2016/679], you have a right to see and have copies of records, except if:

  • The doctor or other health care professional responsible for your care has decided that to do so would seriously cause harm to your (or another person’s) physical or mental health or condition. This decision can apply to part of your records and they do not have to let you know.

  • You may wish to ask if any part of your records has not been made available and, if so, the reason why and when this decision can be reviewed.

  • Providing the records would give you information relating to another person who has not consented to this information being shared.

  • An individual has made clear that they do not want their records to be disclosed to someone else, even if that person has a right to make the request on behalf of the individual (e.g. the parent of a child or someone appointed to manage the affairs of an individual who lacks capacity).

To find out more about how organisation should look after your data, or raise a concern or complaint, go to the Information Commissioner’s Office website. Or call their Helpline on 0303 123 1113.

How do I ask for copies of my records?

You can apply to see your records by making a Subject Access Request (SAR). The SAR must be made in writing and most GP Practices and NHS Trusts have a form that you will be asked to complete.

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