Some advice if you are having problems obtaining medical records

Written by Aaron Dennis, October 8, 2018

Many members have told us they are having difficulties in obtaining their medical records.  The Society has put together this briefing to help.

How do I go about getting my medical records?

You have the right to see your medical records. A request needs to be made, in writing, to your healthcare provider (that is your hospital and/or your GP).  If you want to see both GP and hospital records, you will need to apply separately to each healthcare provider.

From your GP

For your GP records you will normally need to ask the Practice Manager. Please remember. Your GP record should include copies of letters from the hospital to your GP.

You will need to prove your identity, this will normally be by showing two forms of identity; include one with a photograph of you (such as passport or driving licence) and one with your address (such a gas or electric bill).

From your Hospital

To obtain your hospital records you will normally need to contact the Records Manager at the hospital where you received your treatment. Again you will need to supply proof of identity and may be asked to complete a specific request form.

You should receive a reply from the healthcare provider within 28 days.

Will I have to pay to get a copy of my records?

Any charges are a matter for the hospital trust.  However, following a letter from the Chair of the Infected Blood Inquiry, Sir Brian Langstaff, the heads of the NHS in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have all confirmed that normal fee for requests in connection with the Inquiry will be waived.

What if the hospital or GP has closed or moved?

When a hospital closes or moves the records can be moved to the new hospital site or to the next main hospital that takes over providing those services in that area and any request for records should be made in the first instance to the new hospital.  Remember if you have difficulty with hospital records, your GP records should contain all the letters and other correspondence from the hospital to your GP.

If you have changed GP your records should have moved with you to the new surgery.  If you are not registered with a GP your records may still be with the last GP surgery you were registered with. If you still cannot trace your GP records then, depending on the location of your last GP surgery, contact:

  • In England – Primary Care Support England, FAO Access Team, Primary Care Support England, 3 Caxton Road, Fulwood, Preston, PR2 9ZZ Email: [email protected]
  • In Wales ­NHS Wales Shared Services Partnership, The Records Manager, NHS Wales Shared Services Partnership, HRR Department, NWSSP, Cwmbran House, Mamhilad Park Estate, Pontypool, NP4 0XS Email: nwssp­[email protected]
  • In Scotland ­ NHS Scotland Practitioner Services, Records Manager, Practitioner Services, NHS National Services Scotland, Gyle Square, 1 South Gyle Crescent, Edinburgh, EH12 9EB Email: [email protected]
  • In Northern Ireland – Medical Services Department, Business Services Organisation, The Records Manager, Medical Services Department, Business Services, 2 Franklin Street , Belfast , BT2 8DQ Email: [email protected]

Is there any other source of records?

The UK Haemophilia Centre Doctors’ Organisation (UKHCDO) collect data on diagnosis, treatment and management of bleeding disorders.  There is more detailed information on how you can obtain records held by the UKHCDO on their web site, www.ukhcdo.org together with an application form you will need to complete.

Can someone else request your medical records on your behalf? Medical records are strictly confidential so you can only gain access to someone else’s records if you: have been given their express permission to do so or if you have the legal authority to make decisions on their behalf (known as a power of attorney).

As before, you will need to make your request in writing to the healthcare provider or GP along with the patient’s written consent or a copy of your legal authority.

Can I apply for the records of a family member who had died?

The GP records of people who have died are generally kept for about 10 years and by hospitals for about eight years.

Relatives do not have automatic rights to request records and it is up to the record holders to consider whether to disclose, although they would have to give a good reason not to.  It is, therefore, best to make it very clear that your request is connected to providing evidence to the Infected Blood Inquiry.

You will also need to provide proof of your relationship to the deceased.

Is there any other help available?

The Inquiry Team has produced a set of forms which you can use if the healthcare provider does not have their own.  These forms include all of the information that you would need to include in your request and can be found on the Inquiry web site.