Access to Medical Records
The General Data Protection Regulations and the Data Protection Act 2018 replaced the Data Protection Act 1998 on 25 May 2018, bringing in widespread changes to UK data protection legislation.
Since 25 May patients must be given access to their medical records, free of charge, either via Detailed Coded Record (Online Access) or as a Subject Access Request (SAR) which includes when a patient authorises access by a third party such as a solicitor.
In accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation therefore, patients (data subjects) have the right to access their data and any supplementary information held by The Family Practice. Data subjects have a right to receive:
- Confirmation that their data is being processed
- Access to their personal data
- Access to any other supplementary information held about them
How to Access Your Medical Records
Covid-19 Alert: Applications are suspended until further notice.
For online access, proxy online access or paper copies of your full medical record please complete the application form below. Applications must be returned to the surgery in person, by the applicant with photo ID and proof of address. See form for further details on the types of access you can request and how to submit your application.
Patient Access to Records Application Form Please note: if you would prefer continual access to up to date information from your medical record, please apply for Online Access.
Health Record - Who May Apply for Access
Patients with Capacity
Patients with capacity have a right to access their own health records via Online Access (electronic records) or SAR (paper copy of full records). Patients may also authorise a third party such as a solicitor to do so on their behalf. Competent young people may also seek access to their own records. It is not necessary for patients to give reasons as to why they wish to access their records.
Children and Young People Under 16
Where a child is competent, they are entitled to make or consent to a SAR to access their record. Patients aged 16 and under cannot apply for Online Access. Parents/guardians please see Proxy Access for details on how to access under 16s medical information.
Children aged over 16 years are presumed to be competent. Children under 16 must demonstrate that they have sufficient understanding of what is proposed in order to be entitled to make or consent to an SAR. However, children who are aged 12 or over are generally expected to have the competence to give or withhold their consent to the release of information from their health records. When assessing a child’s competence, the responsible GP/Governance Lead will explain the issues in a way that is suitable for their age. Where in the view of the appropriate health professional, a child lacks competency to understand the nature of his or her SAR application, the holder of the record is entitled to refuse to comply with the SAR.
Next of Kin
A next of kin cannot give or withhold their consent to the sharing of information on a patient’s behalf. As next of kin they have no rights of access to medical records. For parental rights of access, see the information above.
A patient can authorise a solicitor acting on their behalf to make a SAR. A solicitor must provide the patient’s written consent to the Practice along with the request.
Online Access to Medical Records
Online Access can only be granted to patients aged 16 years and over, no third parties.
Through online access to your medical records patients can access an up to date version of parts of their electronic GP medical record including information about medication, allergies, vaccinations, previous illnesses and test results.
You can also use your online access account to book appointments and order repeat prescriptions. See Section 7 of our Patient Access to Records Application Form for further details on what information you can view.
Proxy Online Access
Proxy access enables a user who is not the patient to register for an online account to access the designated patient’s medical record. The patient can specify what information the proxy user can access, for example the proxy user could be restricted to just booking appointments or requesting repeat medications, without any access to the patient’s medical record. Apply for proxy access through our Patient Access to Records Application Form, once an application has been successful, proxy users will be sent their own online registration details via post.
Proxy users not registered at this practice: A proxy user must be registered at the same surgery as the patient in order to synchronise the proxy user’s record to their existing online access account. If the proxy applicant is not registered at the same surgery as the patient they will need to create a separate online access account for proxy access and cannot register the same email address to that of any existing online access account active at another surgery.
Proxy access via a patient representative (e.g. parent/guardian) can be enabled for under 16s. Proxy access will be revoked once the patient reaches the age of 16, at which point the patient can then re-apply for their own access.
Once the relevant application form is submitted to the Practice, we aim to process the request within 28 days. The maximum time for processing a request is one calendar month. The Practice will contact the applicant if there are any queries and when the application is complete.
There may be occasions when the data controller (The Family Practice) will withhold information kept in the health record, particularly if the disclosure of such information is likely to cause undue stress or harm to you or any other person.
We, at The Family Practice (‘the Surgery’) situated at Western College, Cotham, Bristol, BS6 6DF, are a Data Controller of your information. This means we are responsible for collecting, storing and handling your personal and healthcare information when you register with us as a patient.
Data Protection Officer
The surgery’s Data Protection Officer is:
Avon Local Medical Committee,
14a High Street, Staple Hill,
Bristol, BS16 5HP
Tel: 0117 9702755