Access to Health Records under the Data Protection Act 1998
The Data Protection Act 1998 gives every living person, or an authorised representative, the right to apply for access to their health records.
A request for your medical health records held at OXFORD TERRACE & RAWLING ROAD MEDICAL GROUP should be made in writing for the attention of the Data Controller (please contact the Practice for alternative methods of obtaining access if you are unable to make a request in writing).
Under the Data Protection Act 1998 (Fees and Miscellaneous Provisions) Regulations 2000, you may be charged a fee to view your health records or to be provided with a copy of them.
The data controller is not obliged to comply with your access request unless they have sufficient information to identify you and to locate the information held about you.
Once the data controller has all the required information, and fee where relevant, your request should be fulfilled within 21 days (in exceptional circumstances where it is not possible to comply within this period you will be informed of the delay and given a timescale for when your request is likely to be met).
In some circumstances, the Act permits the data controller to withhold information held in your health record. These rare cases are:
Where it has been judged that supplying you with the information is likely cause serious harm to the physical or mental health or condition of you, or any other person, or;
Where providing you with access would disclose information relating to or provided by a third person who had not consented to the disclosure, this exemption does not apply where that third person is a clinician involved in your care.
When making your request for access, it would be helpful if you could provide details of the time-periods and aspects of your health record you require (this is optional, but it may help save Practice time and resources and reduce the cost of your access request).
If you are using an authorised representative, you need to be aware that in doing so they may gain access to all health records concerning you, which may not all be relevant. If this is a concern, you should inform your representative of what information you wish them to specifically request when they are applying for access.
If you have any complaints about any aspect of your application to obtain access to your health records, you should first discuss this with the clinician concerned. If this proves unsuccessful, you can make a complaint through the NHS Complaints Procedure by contacting the Practice formally.
Further information about the NHS Complaints Procedure is available on the NHS Choices website at: www.nhs.uk/aboutNHSChoices/pages/Howtocomplaincompliment.aspx
Alternatively you can contact the Information Commissioners Office (responsible for governing Data Protection compliance). Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF. Tel 01625 545745 or www.ico.gov.uk/
A Note About Medical Records
Sometimes when people view their medical records they see things recorded in ways that they don’t understand or in which don’t fully record the medical problems that they have or have had.
There are a number of reasons that may account for this:
- It may have been incorrectly recorded or dated. If you are viewing your medical records and something is clearly wrong, please let us know so we can investigate and correct it. If possible, let us know of problems in writing rather than by telephone. Please do not book an appointment just to raise concerns about details in your medical record.
- It may not be able to be exactly recorded due to the limitations of the system used to “code” medical information. Much of the information in medical records is recorded using medical terms that the computer system recognises. Unfortunately the number of computer recognised terms is not as extensive as enormous variety of medical conditions that people have. Rare, very detailed and newly described conditions or procedures are often not available on the coding system so we have to use approximations. We have to accept and work with this.
- Remember that medical terminology does not always have exactly the same meaning as when the words are used in day to day conversation.