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Accessing medical records

The Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA) and the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) gives an individual the right to ask for a copy of the information an organisation holds about them – this right is commonly known as a Subject Access Request (SAR). Subject Access Requests can be made as follows:

  • A request for information from health records has to be made with the organisation that holds the health records – the data controller. For example, the GP, optician or dentist.
  • For hospital health records, the individual should contact the records manager or patient services manager at the relevant hospital trust. You can find a list of hospital trusts on the NHS Choices website.

If you are an insurer, please download our guide available here.

Timescales for processing Access Requests

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 and If the request for a medical record is under the Data Protection Act 1998, 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.) PCSE will update the applicant on likely timescales.

 



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GP Health Records for un-registered or deceased individuals

NHS England is the data controller of GP health records where an individual is not currently registered with a GP or is deceased. To request access to your own health records or those of a deceased person, the most efficient way to submit the request is to complete the application form which can be downloaded here.  This will ensure all the relevant details are captured and will avoid confusion or misunderstanding.  The application form contains information regarding your rights and how your application will be dealt with. Please take the time to read it carefully.

To receive a copy of a medical record, appropriate identification documents must be provided. If you are making the application as an individual’s legal representative (e.g. a solicitor), we need to receive written authorisation from the applicant for you to act on their behalf and receive their medical record.

Please send your completed application form and copies of relevant identification documentation via email to pcse.accessrequests@nhs.net. If you are unable to submit your request via email please forward your completed application to the following postal address:

FAO Access Team
Primary Care Support England
3 Caxton Road
Fulwood
Preston
PR2 9ZZ

If you have any queries please email us at: pcse.accessrequests@nhs.net or call us on: 0333 014 2884.

You can find more information about accessing health records on the NHS Choices website.

You can find more detail on your information rights on the NHS England website here.