- How do I request a home visit?
- How do I check my test results?
- How do I access my medical records?
- What records are covered?
- Does it matter when the records were made?
- Does the Act cover all of the UK?
- Who can apply for access?
- Are there any exemptions?
- Must copies of the records be given if requested?
- Can a fee be charged?
- If you are applying to access your health record you will need to
- What about access to the records of deceased patients?
How do I request a home visit?
If you require a home visit because you are too ill to attend the surgery, please make the request between 9.00 and 10.30am if possible by telephoning 01372 724434 for Old Cottage & Fitznells or 020 8786 7744 for Stoneleigh Medical Centre or 020 8391 4859 for Cox Lane Surgery. Please be prepared to give the receptionist some indication of the nature of the problem, as this helps the doctors plan their rounds more efficiently. It may not always be possible for your own doctor to visit.
How do I check my test results?
Results of most blood tests will usually be available after two working days. Other test results are normally available within two weeks after the test was performed.
We can only give results to the person on whom the test was performed. Test results will not be given to other family members unless they are for a child.
We would be grateful if you could request your results 11am and 1:30pm when the surgery is less busy. We are not able to email results directly to you as we wish to ensure that your confidentiality is maintained.
How do I access my medical records?
Doctors have always had the discretion to allow patients to see their health records and to share information where appropriate with the carers of children and incapacitated adults. Additionally in recent years Acts of Parliament have given certain statutory rights of access to records. None of the legislation prevents doctors from informally showing patients their records or, bearing in mind duties of confidentiality, discussing relevant health issues with carers.
The implementation of data protection legislation in early 2000 changed patients’ statutory rights of access to their health records. The purpose of this guidance is to set out in some detail the legal requirements on doctors as holders of health records. This summary highlights the main points.
What records are covered?
All manual and computerised health records about living people are accessible under the Data Protection Act 1998.
Does it matter when the records were made?
No, access must be given equally to all records regardless of when they were made.
Does the Act cover all of the UK?
Who can apply for access?
Competent patients may apply for access to their own records, or may authorise a third party, such as their lawyer, to do so on their behalf. Parents may have access to their child’s records if this is in the child’s best interests and not contrary to a competent child’s wishes. People appointed by a court to manage the affairs of mentally incapacitated adults may have access to information necessary to fulfill their function.
Are there any exemptions?
Yes, the main exemptions are that information must not be disclosed if it:
- is likely to cause serious physical or mental harm to the patient or another person; or
- relates to a third party who has not given consent for disclosure (where that third party is not a health professional who has cared for the patient).
Must copies of the records be given if requested?
Yes, patients are entitled to a copy of their records, for example a photocopy of paper records or print out of computerised records.
Can a fee be charged?
Yes, and the fee varies depending on the type of record and whether the patient wants copies of the records or just to see them.
To provide access and copies:
Records held totally on computer: £10
Records held in part on computer and in part manually: a reasonable fee of up to £50
Records held totally manually: a reasonable fee of up to £50
To allow patients to read their records (where no copy is required):
Records held totally on computer: £10
Records held in part on computer and in part manually: £10
Records held totally manually: £10 unless the records have been added to in the last 40 days when no charge can be made.
If you are applying to access your health record you will need to
- Complete the form “Access to Health Records” available from reception.
- Provide two types of identification as well as proof of current address. Photocopies should initially be provided, but original copies must be available when collecting your information.
- An initial administration fee of £10.00 will be charged. This must be paid by cash or cheque. Please make all cheques payable to the Integrated Care Partnership.
- There may be an additional charge payable when you collect your results as detailed above.
What about access to the records of deceased patients?
The Data Protection Act 1998 only covers the records of living patients. If a person has a claim arising from the death of an individual, he or she has a right of access to information in the deceased’s records necessary to fulfill that claim. These rights are set out in the Access to Health Records Act 1990 or Access to Health Records (Northern Ireland) Order 1993. The provisions and fees are slightly different from those in the Data Protection Act.
If you wish to access your medical records please contact reception for an application form. Guidance on confidentiality and on sharing information with relatives and carers is available from the BMA’s Medical Ethics Department.
© British Medical Association 2004