Access to health records
Under the Data Protection Act 2018 you have the legal right to apply to access your health records. It also allows you to give permission for someone else (e.g. parents or carer) to apply to see them on your behalf.
Accessing a deceased person’s health record is governed by the Access to Health Records Act 1990 and there is a separate application form that needs to be completed.
The Data Protection Act 2018 came into force in March 2018. It gives you the right to apply for all your health records, both written and computerised with one application. To download our leaflet on protecting your personal information click here.
What is a health record?
These are records which have information relating to your physical or mental health which has been made by or on behalf of a health professional in connection with your care. All health records can be accessed whenever the record was made.
Are there any restrictions on access?
Sometimes it is not possible to release whole records without anything removed (Redacted). Some information may be taken out if it:
- Would be likely to cause serious harm to you or any other person’s physical or mental health condition
- Would identify someone else not involved in your care
- (if you applying on someone else's behalf) If it is considered that the service user would not wish the information to be disclosed
However there are ways that you can challenge the removals (redactions) (see section 'What can I do if I am not satisfied?')
Can other people see my records?
Professionals involved in your care need to see and add to your records. You can also allow someone who is acting for you to see your records. To do this, we will need your signed authorisation to show that you have given permission for another person to act on your behalf.
Access to deceased service user records
The Access to Health Records Act 1990 grants rights to certain individuals to see what has been written about a deceased service user in a health record. This only applies to records made on or after 1 November 1991.
Access may be given to the deceased service user’s ‘personal representative’ (defined as being the legal representative granted by the Probate Office or Court) or to any other person who may have a claim following the service user’s death.
To access a deceased persons health records you will need to send documentation supporting your claim. If the request is from the service user’s personal representative, we will normally supply copies of health records which relate to recent treatment.
Is there a charge for access?
No, there is no charge.
In exceptional cases, the Trust may ask you to contribute to the cost of printing or supplying additional copies of your records.
How do I request access to my records?
You can ask anyone at the Trust, and they will pass your request on to the Information Rights and Compliance team.
Alternatively, you can contact the team directly at:
Information Rights and Compliance Team
Hertfordshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
99 Waverley Road
Tel: 01727 804707 or 01727 804228
The team has produced a form, which you may find helpful to use to frame your request.
- Download details and an application form for accessing your health records click here
- To apply for access to a deceased service users records click here
You, or your representative, will need to provide two forms of identification which should be an original copy of:
- Passport photograph page or
- Driving licence with photograph and
- Recent utility bill
You can send your completed form, copies of your identification to:
You will get written confirmation when the application has been received. It is important that you provide as much information as possible about the records you want, so your application is not delayed. When we are sure we have all the information needed to process your request, you will receive a response within 30 calendar days.
In some cases, we may need more time to find and process your records. If we need to, we can extend the deadline to 90 calendar days. If we have to do this, we will tell you as soon as possible.
What can I do if I'm not satisfied?
If you have a complaint about the accuracy of the information which you are shown, or you think that part of the record is being unnecessarily withheld, you can discuss this with your care coordinator/key worker, or if you prefer you can write to the Data Protection Officer at the address above.
Mistakes or inaccuracies
If you feel that there are mistakes or inaccuracies in the record you can ask the record holder for a note to be made in the records stating your opinion. It isn't possible for the Trust to delete your record completely, or to remove sections that you disagree with. We can add a statement to the file detailing your concerns, and giving your account of events.