Access to your health records

Under the Data Protection Act 1998, you have a legal right to access your health records. If you want to see your health records you can write to your Doctor to request a time to come in and read them. You don’t have to give a reason for wanting to see your records.

It’s a good idea to state the dates of the records that you want to see – for example, from 2009-2012 – and to send the letter by recorded delivery. You should also keep a copy of your letter for your records. You will usually receive a response to your request within 21 days, although the law states that your hospital, or the Practice, has up to 40 days to respond.

Hospital records

As well as having a copy of your health records the Practice will also have a summary of any hospital tests, or treatment, that you have had. Any hospitals where you have had treatment, or tests, will also hold records.

To see your hospital health records, you will have to contact your local Hospital.

Your request to see your records will be forwarded to the health records manager. The manager will decide whether your request will be approved. Your request will usually only be refused if your records manager, GP, or other health professional believes that information in the records is likely to cause you, or another person, serious harm.


If your records have been updated in the last 40 days – that is, you have seen your GP, or another health professional, in the last 40 days, you’re entitled to see your records free of charge. However, if your records are held on a computer, there may be an administration charge of up to £10.

For a copy of older paper records, and results such as X-rays, you may have to pay photocopying and administration charges. These charges will be a maximum of £50 (in total).

Optician and dental records

Your optician and dentist also hold records about you. To access your optician or dental records, you may need to show proof of identity.

Power of attorney:

Your health records are confidential, and members of your family are not allowed to see them, unless you give them written permission, or they have power of attorney.

A lasting power of attorney is a legal document that allows you to appoint someone to make decisions for you, should you become incapable of making decisions yourself.

The person you appoint is known as your attorney. An attorney can make decisions about your finances, property, and welfare. It is very important that you trust the person you appoint so that they do not abuse their responsibility. A legal power of attorney must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian before it can be used.

If you wish to see the health records of someone who has died, you will have to apply under the Access to Medical Records Act 1990. You can only apply if you: are that person’s next of kin, are their legal executor (the person named in a will who is in charge of dealing with the property and finances of the deceased person), have the permission of the next of kin, or have obtained written permission from the deceased person before they died. To access the records of a deceased person, you must go through the same process as a living patient. This means either contacting the Practice or the hospital where the records are stored.

For further information please click on the under noted link.

Access to Health Records