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Access to Medical Records (Member of the public)

Medical Records - Primary Care Support England can only provide a copy of GP health records. Other parts of a patient’s health record may be held by hospitals, community or mental health trusts, as well as previous GP practices. We cannot provide access to these records, and you therefore may wish to apply separately to another health organisation. Click here.

Primary Care Support England does not store:

  • X-rays/transparencies – these will remain with the relevant NHS trust
    · digital records
    · hospital records – apply to the NHS trust
    · private clinic records – available from the clinic concerned.


Patient GP Registration Information and demographic information PCSE receive requests from a range of individuals and organisations to access demographic information including last known GP Practice. Click here.

On behalf of NHS England, the NHS GP Practice medical records for patients should include information about:

  • medication
  • allergies
  • vaccinations
  • previous illnesses
  • test results
  • hospital discharge summaries
  • appointment letters
  • referral letters

Sometimes these records don’t always contain a full medical history.

If you or the person whose records you are requesting on behalf of are unregistered, PCSE will process the access application within 28 days.

In certain circumstances, this may not be possible (for example, where the record cannot be traced, or is held by a third party storage provider outside of the control of PCSE.)


If you are requesting records for a deceased person, GP practices are required to respond to Access to Health Records Act (AHRA) requests, however PCSE will process the Access to Health Records request if the last registered GP Practice has now closed. 

In these circumstances, if the request for a medical record is under the Access to Health Records Act 1990, PCSE will process the access application within 40 days. In certain circumstances, this may not be possible (for example, where the record cannot be traced, or is held by a third party storage provider outside of the control of PCSE.)

PCSE will update the applicant on likely timescales.

The ethical obligation to respect a patient’s confidentiality extends beyond them passing away. The Access to Health Records Act 1990 (AHRA) provides a small amount of people with the right to access this information:

  • a personal representative (the executor or administrator of the deceased person's estate)
  • someone who has a claim resulting from the death (this could be a relative or another person)

Please note: Only information directly relevant to a claim will be disclosed.

All applicants will need to provide some additional documents to be able to access the records.

A record may not always contain the patient's full medical history. PCSE can only provide you with the information we hold.

If there are missing years, please contact the GP Practice where the patient was registered during the period you are missing the information.


PCSE will consult an appropriate health professional who will review the records and decide which records may be released.

There are certain circumstances in which the health professional may deny access to the complete records or to certain parts of the record:

The Health Professional has deemed notes not suitable for disclosure, as they are not within the scope of the request.

Where an individual other than the patient (and appropriate health professionals) could be identified from the information (unless the individual consents).

The deceased person stated that they did not wish for any part of their records to be released after death, or the information contained within the records was such that the deceased person expected them to remain confidential.

Access cannot be given to records made prior to November 1991.


If you wish to speak to someone regarding this, please contact: pcse.accessrequests@nhs.net, or phone 0333 014 2884.

To appeal a decision on disclosure please email pcse.accessrequests@nhs.net

Please ensure to include a statement as to why you wish to appeal the decision.

If your appeal is accepted, it will be passed to the NHS England Redaction team to review the initial decision.

If there has been a practice merger since the patient has died, please contact the practice that it has been merged with.

When an application is received by the Access to Health Records team, the steps listed in this guide, click here, detail the process that the application will follow. Applicants who require an update at any stage of the application should contact our Customer Support Centre on 0333 014 2884.

PCSE are happy to help provide you with this information. Please email informationservices@nhs.net with your request, attaching two identity documents (one proof of current home address and one form of photo personal ID as detailed here).

GPs are legally obliged to follow the Access to Health Records Act 1990, as the GP is the record holder as per s3(2) of the Act. If a practice refused to process the request, the requestor should complain to the GP practice and/or raise the issue with NHS England, please see NHS England » Complaining to NHS England.