By Eddie Jones, partner and head of clinical negligence at JMW Solicitors
Every time a medical expert examines you, they update your medical records with information about your illness or condition and the care and treatment you received. You may be curious to know whether you are able to access your medical records when you need them. Here, JMW’s medical negligence team looks at your rights to access to your medical records.
What are medical records?
Doctors, nurses and other healthcare providers add notes to a patient’s medical file, including observations, the administration of medications and therapies, prescriptions, and the results of tests and X-rays. Additionally, they may contain appointment notes and letters from physicians and other healthcare professionals.
Why would I need to access my medical records?
Viewing medical records might help you better understand your condition or treatment, or it can help you get ready to make a complaint if you have problems with your medical care. You might also be interested in researching your medical history out of sheer curiosity.
Am I able to access my own medical records?
You are able to access your own medical records, and you are not required to provide a reason for your request. If you need to, you can also allow access to other individuals, such as a solicitor or your family.
How to correct an error in your medical records
If you spot an error in your medical records, you must inform someone at the NHS service responsible for their maintenance, such as your GP surgery who will be able to aid you in updating it.
Can I nominate someone else to view my records for me?
Yes. Another individual, such as a solicitor, can be chosen to review your records; however, you need to give written consent. Without this permission, your medical records are completely confidential. No one should be able to see them without your permission unless they are an authorised healthcare professional or have legal authority to manage your affairs.
How do I access my medical records?
Most patients will have automatic access to data online that has been added to their GP record since 2022. This category includes letters, test results and appointment notes. It is possible that some patients may be able to access records that predate November 2022.
There are two main ways to get access to your doctors’ records.
1. By speaking to your GP surgery
You can ask for your GP record at your GP surgery.
If you are having difficulty accessing your medical records or would like more advice on how to do so, contact an experienced solicitor to receive expert advice.
2. Using your NHS account
You can access your GP record by logging into your account on the NHS website or app.
You must first sign up and provide identification for online services.
Using the NHS website or app will only let you see your prescriptions and allergies. To get a copy of your entire medical record, you must ask your GP.
If you find that you have any questions regarding your treatment or discrepancies found in your medical record, speak to your GP surgery to arrange an appointment to discuss the issue in more depth.
Your Rights to Accessing Your Medical Records is a collaborative post