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Access to Records
Health records are private and confidential. You have the right to see your current health record, although some exceptions do exist (see below).
Access to your own health records is provided for under the Data Protection Act 1998 and is known as a 'right of subject access'. Applications to access health records of patients who have died are made under the Access to Health Records Act 1990.
Which records can be seen?
You can ask to see all of your written and computerised medical records (including x-rays and scans) made by doctors and other health professionals. Normally, as a patient, you have the right to see all of your existing health record. You can also give consent for another person to access your records where they are acting on your behalf (e.g. a solicitor). There are however some exceptions when access may be restricted or denied:
- When the record holder believes that providing access is likely to cause the patient, or another person, serious harm;
- When the record relates to, or had been given by, someone other than a health professional involved in the patient's care, unless that person has given their consent for the information to be released;
- When the record holder believes that a patient under 16 cannot understand what the application to see their records means;
- When a record shows an identifiable person was, or may have been, born following treatments defined in the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990;
- When to do so would involve disproportionate effort;
- When the record contains information the patient expressly stated must not be revealed.
Who can see a health record?
- The person about whom the record has been made;
- A representative, provided they have the patient's consent (this should be in writing);
- A parent or guardian of a child under 16, with the child's consent where applicable;
- A court appointed representative (who has Power of Attorney) of a patient who cannot handle their own affairs;
- A personal representative or anyone with a claim arising from a patient's death may see the part of the record relating to the claim.
How can I get access to the records?
Firstly you should ask the record holder (usually your doctor) to see what has been written in your records. This can be done when you next see them for an appointment.
If you would like a copy of your records you will need to complete the form below. This will allow us to confirm your identity and provide you with copies of the information you would like.
Please note a fee may be charged for this service.
The completed form, accompanied by copies of supporting identification, should be returned to the Corporate Affairs Team.
Once we have received your request we will provide you with a copy of your records within 40 calendar days. Please note that a charge will sometimes be made. The fee will depend on how the records are stored:
- on computer: maximum £10;
- partly on computer and partly in another form: maximum £50;
- entirely in another form: maximum £50.
Corporate Affairs Team
Sheffield Health & Social Care NHS Foundation Trust
Old Fulwood Road
Sheffield S10 3TH
Tel: (0114) 2716706