Health professionals create health records and maintain them. They can allow access to these records, abiding by the laws. They can also refuse access if it is not their legal obligation. The health records are created with the help of computers. However, there can be manual forms also, or a mixture of both. The health records mainly contain clinical notes, correspondence related to the health of the patient, test reports, scan images, monitoring reports and photos.
How can I access my health records
You have to formally for this. At the same time, health professionals can show you these records on verbal request too. When you want to have the access in a formally way, you can give the request in writing. For gaining access to your GP records, you should write to your GP. If you need access to your hospital records and have a copy of the records, you should write to the concerned manager in the hospital. This may involve a charge of fee. The charges vary with the form of the health records. The charges are nominal for computer-generated records. For manual records, the charge may be high.
For computerised records, when you need only access and not copy of the health records, you need not pay a charge if there is no addition to the records in the last 40 days. The same condition applies to manual records and mixed forms too, but with a nominal charge of fee.
The law mentions that you should receive a reply from them within 40 days from the date of receipt of your application. They give you a date to visit the hospital for viewing your health records. The hospital should provide you copy of the health records, if you need, with explanation of medical jargons and abbreviations used in these records. If still you are not clear, the health professional is responsible for explaining you wherever required.
Can I effect amendment to my personal data already given by me
You can inform your GP orally or write to them for effecting the change in your name, address or telephone number. The reception staff will update the records. On-line updating facilities are available with some GPs and hospitals, which save your time, money and energy.
When I live abroad, can I update my UK health records
If you have settled down in another country permanently, your GP will send your health records to a local primary care trust, whereas, the hospital records are either stored at the hospital or sent to a local store. GP records are preserved for a minimum of eight years and hospital records for ten years. As per the Data Protection Act, you have the right to access your UK health records or obtain a copy of the same, even if you are settled in abroad. You should only apply to the record holder in writing specifically.
How I can access the health records of a deceased person
If you want to go by the Access to Health Records Act, you should apply to the record holder in writing. The GP health records of a deceased person are transmitted to a local primary care trust (PCT) for preserving the same. Therefore, you should write to them. The GP of the deceased person will give you the details of the PCT. For gaining access to the hospital records, you should write to the Records Manager of the hospital, which the deceased person has attended.