How do I access my medical records
Access through the NHS App
Since November 2022, patients aged over 16 who are registered with a GP practice have been able to access their full, GP health record via the NHS App. This includes free text, letters and documents. Patients are currently not able to see historic data (data before November 2022) but this is being offered in the future (we are not currently aware of a roll out date).
To arrange for online access, you will need to download the NHS App onto your device. This link About the NHS App gives you information on using the app to access your records and how to organise this with the practice.
How do I access historic records or access records without using the NHS App?
In order to access your past medical records, you can make a Subject Access Request (SAR). You can make this request verbally or in writing. To make the process more efficient and reliable for our patients at Pathfields, and to ensure that the request reaches our Medical Reports Team as quickly as possible, we also have a form which can be used:
SAR (Subject Access Request)
Alternatively you can email the medical records team email@example.com
Ensuring you include the following details:
- Request for full or partial records with date range if partial
The allows us to gather appropriate and detailed information from you about your request to help us to ensure that the request is undertaken appropriately. There are several legal requirements governing the data that is released in a SAR and we need to be able to assess that we are undertaking this work correctly. We may therefore need to ask you some further questions about your request.
When you make a SAR, we do not simply download your records and email them to you. Someone reads the record from start to finish to ensure that the data that we are sending you complies with the law governing release of medical records. This can therefore be a time-consuming job, especially with large records. We ask that you consider if you require your full medical records for the purpose that you are requesting them. In certain circumstances, the past 12 months or perhaps a period between two dates will be enough.
Once we have received your request, we have a month to provide you with your records. This can be extended by a further two months if your request is complex or if we receive several separate requests from you.
We send the records to you via a secure link by email. If you do not have an email address, you can provide the email address of a person that you trust (please be aware that they will have access/sight of the medical records. For reasons of confidentiality you may not consider this to be appropriate). If you do not have access to an email account, we can print the records. We prefer not to do this as records can extend to hundreds of pages and this has an environmental and financial impact.
We cannot charge you for medical records (unless you make repeated and excessive requests) and the cost of paper and ink is therefore covered by the practice. If you insist upon a paper copy, we will minimise the amount of paper used by printing the records in a double-sided format and if appropriate, two pages to a page. We will also only supply one copy, if you require additional copies, you must organise this yourself.
Accessing medical records for children
A person with parental responsibility will usually be able to access the records of a child who is 12 or younger. Children aged 13 to 15 are usually considered to have capacity to give or refuse consent to parents requesting access to their health records. Children aged 13-15 can allow proxy access to their records (please contact the surgery if you wish to discuss this option). When the patient turns 16, the proxy access will automatically be removed.
Accessing records for deceased patients
If you wish to obtain the medical records for a deceased patient, there are very specific rules for who can apply and the reason for the application.
Put simply, you can only apply for a deceased patient’s records if you are the deceased patient’s personal representative (PR) or you may have a claim arising out of the patient’s death.
A personal representative (PR) is the general term for a person or persons who deal with the estate of the deceased person. If the deceased left a Will, the PR is the Executor(s). If the deceased did not leave a Will or did not name an Executor(s), then you may be able to apply to be the Administrator of the estate by applying for Probate. There are specific rules relating to who can became the Administrator of an Estate, please seek legal advice if further information is required. An Administrator is also a PR.
A next of kin does not have automatic rights to access a deceased patient’s record. ‘Next of kin’ is not defined and does not have formal legal status. A next of kin therefore has no rights of access to medical records unless they also fall under one of the categories mentioned above.
If you wish to make a SAR for a deceased patient, we will need proof of your status as the PR or details of the claim that you may have arising out of the death of the patient. We will also require you to provide ID to verify your identity.
Solicitors (Third Parties) seeking access to your medical records
We often receive SAR’s from solicitors acting on behalf of patients. Common reasons are due to instructing a solicitor to pursue a personal injury or medical negligence claim. Your solicitor should explain to you the extent of your records that they will be asking us to provide i.e. your full medical records or partial records. They should also ask you to provide a signed and dated form giving us your permission to release the records to them.
On receipt of a SAR from a firm of solicitors, we will also seek your direct consent to the release of the records. We do this, even if we receive a form signed by you with the request. We make this extra check because sometimes solicitors have not explained the extent of the records that they are requesting, or you may have changed your mind since signing the form. We need to satisfy ourselves that you are happy for us to release your medical records to a third party so we ask that you respond to us if we call you or send you a text to verify your consent. If we do not hear from you within 7 days and we have a consent form signed by you from the solicitor dated within 6 months, we will proceed to send the records on.
Occasionally, we receive a Court Order requiring the practice to disclose your medical records. Courts, including coroner’s, have legal powers to require disclosure without a patient’s consent.
If you have a question regarding requesting copies of your medical records, please feel free to email the Medical Reports Team at firstname.lastname@example.org who are based at Beaumont Villa Surgery.
How to get your medical records page on the NHS website. You can also request them from the surgery. Contact us to get your details.
If you are accessing medical details on behalf of someone else, then you'll need to be nominated as someone they can trust to access them too.