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How to access medical records for yourself, a minor or a deceased relative

13th April 2015

If you’re unhappy about the treatment that you have received, you may wish to obtain your medical records for yourself under the Data Protection Act 1998.  A parent or guardian can also do it for a child under 16, but a child over 16 years old can actually give consent themselves.

It is slightly different if it is for a deceased person, because that would need to be made under the Access to Health Records Act 1990, and that would usually be requested by the executor or the personal representative of the estate.

There are only a few circumstances in which medical records can be refused, that is if it may cause physical or mental harm to an individual or that it would identify a third party.  In these situations that information would be removed and then the records would be sent to you.

A GP will keep your records for 8 years following a treatment you’ve received and a hospital Trust will keep them for over 10 years. You’re actually only entitled to your medical records after 1991, but usually a Trust will send you all the records.

It usually takes about 40 working days to obtain your medical records.   It can be a little be longer, so don’t be disheartened if it takes a bit more time.

It costs £50 per set of records that you’d like to apply for if it is for yourself or for a living person. If it is for a deceased person it will be £10, but you will also have to pay the cost of getting someone to recover and copy the records.

If you’ve already obtained your medical records and you think you’ve been a victim of medical negligence, you can send the records through to us and we will review them. If you haven’t obtained them, we can actually make that application on your behalf if we think you have a successful case.