The Data Protection Act 1998 gives you the right to access your health records. The Access to Health Records Act 1990 gives the Personal Representative of a deceased patient or someone with a claim resulting from a patient’s death the right to access the health records.
How do I request copies of health records?
Kay Hill, Information Governance Officer
01423 553284 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Working days: Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. 8.30am-5pm
If you have emailed us and do not receive an acknowledgement response within 3 working days, please call for an update.
The maximum fee that can be charged for providing copies of health records for living patients is £50 or £10 if the record is held electronically. There is no maximum fee for providing copies of health records for deceased patients. The Trust currently charges:
- £15 for copies of paper records
- £10 for radiology CDs
Please make cheques payable to ‘Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust’ and enclose with your completed application form. If you wish to pay by card please call the above number. Please note that the Trust does not accept American Express. If you wish to pay by cash in person please call the above number to arrange a date and time to make payment.
Once we have received your completed application form along with the appropriate additional information and access fee, the application will be processed within 21 days but can take up to 40 days. However there may be exceptional circumstances where this timeframe is not possible and we will let you know of any delays.
Deceased patient’s health records
Under the Access to Health Records Act 1990, when a patient has died, their Personal Representative or anyone who has a claim resulting from the death can apply for copies of health records.
A ‘Personal Representative’ is the Executor or Administrator of the deceased patient’s estate; not simply a family member of the deceased patient. If the patient did not leave a will, the patient’s next of kin can usually apply for a Grant of Representation to be the Administrator of the estate.
If you believe you may have a potential claim resulting from the death of a patient then you need to instruct a solicitor or insurance company to write to the Trust outlining the potential claim.
Children’s health records (under the age of 16)
As a general rule a person with parental responsibility will have the right to apply for access to a child’s health record. However, in exercising this right a healthcare professional should give careful consideration to the duty of confidentiality owed to the child before copies of records are provided.
Can access be denied?
The Data Protection Act 1998 enables the Trust to limit or deny access to an individual’s health record where:
- The information may cause serious harm to the physical or mental health or condition of the patient, or any other person
- Access would disclose information relating to or provided by a third person who has not consented to that disclosure unless:
- The third party is a healthcare professional who has compiled or contributed to the health records or who has been involved in the care of the patient
- The third party, who is not a health professional, gives their consent to the disclosure of that information.
- It is reasonable to disclose without that third party’s consent
Under the Access to Health Records Act 1990, those with right of access are entitled to see all records made after 1 November 1991 unless:
- In the opinion of the Trust, such disclosure would cause serious harm to the physical or mental health of the applicant or any other individual
- The patient had specifically requested (prior to death) that the information is not disclosed to the applicant
Records made before 1 November 1991 may be made available on a discretionary basis if these are considered by the Trust to be necessary for the applicant’s understanding of the part of the record to which access is being given.