Who can access medical records?
Who can access medical records is defined in the relevant legislation but briefly, those who can access medical records include:
The patient who the record is about
Someone acting on behalf of the patient that the record is about, for example;
A solicitor acting with written authorisation of the patient.
A parent on behalf of a child aged less than 16 years (unless the child is able to understand the nature of the request and apply in their own right).
By court order or appointment.
A deceased patient’s personal representative, this is the administrator or executor of their will.
Someone with a claim arising from the death of the patient.
What are the fees for access?
The fees payable are set by the relevant legislation and are payable directly to us. The fees for access to records or providing you with a copy of ther records are necessary to cover the administration and photocopying charges of meeting your request. Fees are payable before your application is finalised - you cannot get access or copy records without paying the fee first.
The costs are as follows:
To provide you with a copy of your health record;
A £10 administration charge plus photocopying costs of 10p plus vat per sheet, subject to a maximum charge of £50.
To allow you to view your health record (where you do not want a copy);
A £10 administration charge is payable in most cases, however if the records have been added to in the last 40 days viewing is normally free of charge.
To provide copies of a deceased person's health record;
A £10 administration charge plus photocopying costs of 10p plus vat per sheet, packing and postage costs. Please note there is no upper fee limit.
To allow you to view the health record of a deceased person;
A £10 administration charge unless the records have been added to in the last 40 days in which case viewing is normally free of charge.
Fees can be paid in the following ways:
By cheque (in pounds sterling) payable to 'GBS re E Sussex D/Health PCT'
Using online banking, payments should be made to Citibank Government Banking Services Primary Care Supp Svc Account Number 12316919; Sort Code 08-33-00. Please quote ‘medical records’ followed by the patient’s surname, as the reference.
In cash if you are paying in person only - please do not send cash in the post.
We are unable to accept payment by credit or debit card.
What information do I need to provide?
When making your application we ask that you give details of the time periods and parts of the health record which are required. This will help save NHS time and resources and may reduce the costs for you.
If you are using an authorised representative to make your application, you need to be aware that in doing so they may gain access to all health records concerning you. If this is a concern, it is your responsibility to inform them of what information you wish them to specifically request.
If you are the executor/administrator of a deceased person you will need to provide documentary evidence of this. If there are more than one executor/administrator then all must sign the application form.
Once your completed application form together with the appropriate supporting evidence of your identity and authority to make the request is received, the PCSS will retrieve the health records.
What happens next?
We will do our best to deal with your application within 21 days. In exceptional circumstances this may not be possible but we will update you and keep you informed of the delay and likely timescales.
The PCSS will consult with an appropriate health professional who will review the records and make the decision as to which records may be released. The health professional will be the last clinician involved in creating the records or another suitably qualified health professional appointed by the Primary Care Trust. There are certain circumstances under which the health professional may deny access to the complete records or to certain parts of the record:
Where access would disclose information likely to cause serious harm to the physical or mental health or any individual
Where an individual other than the patient could be identified from the information (unless the individual consents)
In the case of a deceased person's records, the deceased person stated that they did not wish their records to be released after death, or the records were such that the deceased person expected them to remain confidential.
In the case of a deceased person's records access cannot be given to records made prior to November 1991.
We will contact you to inform you whether your application has been authorised and of the fees required. If your request is for access to view the records we will liaise with the Primary Care Trust to arrange an appointment. In a request for copies of records, once fees are received, copies of the records will be made available to you to either collect in person (bringing suitable ID with you) or sent by Special Delivery post.
How do I apply?
To apply please complete and return the application form. Completed forms should be returned to us for processing. If you are applying for records relating to a Sussex GP please return your completed form to:
Patient Data Department
Primary Care Support Service
22 Marlborough Road
Lancing Business Park
Applications relating to medical records for Surrey or South West London should be sent to:
Patient Data Department
Primary Care Support Service
187 Ewell Road