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Access your Health Records

Under EU and UK law you or an authorised representative may have the right to access your health record.

The right of access, commonly referred to as subject access, gives individuals the right to obtain a copy of their personal data as well as other supplementary information.

What are you entitled to?

  • confirmation that we are processing your personal data
  • a copy of your personal data
  • other supplementary information

You are only entitled to your own personal data, and not to information relating to other people (unless the information is also about you or you are acting on behalf of someone).

Access to your health record or that of another living individual

You have a right to apply for access if:

  • You are the patient.
  • You have parental responsibility for a patient who is a under the age of 13.
  • You are the person authorised in writing to make an application on behalf of the patient. (This requires the patient’s signature).
  • You are a person appointed by the court to manage the patient’s affairs when they are unable to e.g. power of attorney (documented proof must be provided).

Access to health records of the deceased
The Access to Health Records Act 1990 gives deceased patient’s personal representation and anyone who may have a claim arising out of the patient’s death, a right of access to the patient’s clinical records. This is not a general right and access may be limited to information of relevance to the possible claim.

In some circumstances the Trust is legally required to withhold all or some of the information held in an individual’s health record:

Access can be limited or refused if:

  • Where the identity of an individual cannot be satisfied by the Trust.
  • Where consent of the individual has not been given, but is legally required.
  • Where it has been judged that supplying the information is likely to cause serious harm to the physical or mental health or condition of the patient or any other person.
  • Where providing access would disclose information relating to or provided by a third party who had not consented to the disclosure. This exemption may not apply where that third party is a health professional involved in the care of the individual.
  • If a deceased person had indicated that they did not wish information to be disclosed, or the record contains information that the deceased person expected to remain confidential.

How to request access to health records

Please see below information on Bedford Hospital and Luton and Dunstable University Hospital.

Bedford Hospital

This is known as a Subject Access Request (SAR). To request a copy of your medical record, submit your request in writing or by email using our subject access form which you can access by clicking here to:

Email: [email protected]

Subject Access Department

Records Library

Bedford Hospital NHS Trust

South Wing

Britania Road


MK42 9DJ

Tel: 01234 355122 extn 5828

Secure Fax: 01234 792688

Your request will be reviewed and the Trust can refuse your request if, for example, we believe that releasing the information may cause serious harm to your physical or mental health or that of another person.

A confirmation letter will be issued requesting ID. When satisfactory documentation has been received by Bedford Hospital NHS Trust we will endeavour to release the information within Department of Health guidelines which require us to comply with your request within 21 days. However the GDPR gives us one calendar month from when we receive your completed request and payment. The process of replying can take some time depending on what you have asked for.

Requests from Solicitors must be accompanied by a consent form signed by the patient. If you would like to make a request on behalf of a relative, you will need to complete the form as above and provide satisfactory proof of identification as well as the relevant fee. Please download the General Information and Fees document for more information.

Fees to Subject Access Requests
There are no fees for requests for living individuals, unless the request is excessive or repetitive .

For more information on Fees, please see the Subject Access General Information and Fees document.

Applying for access to a deceased person’s health records
Under the Access to Health Records Act 1990, only specific people have the right to apply for access to the health records of someone who has died. They are:

  • the personal representative of the person who has died
  • any person who may have a claim resulting from the person’s death
  • To see a deceased person’s health records, you will be required to provide evidence of your identity and the reason for your request.

If you do not fall under one of these categories, then access to a deceased person’s records will be judged on an individual basis. Based on the following:

  • A valid reason.
  • A legitimate relationship to the deceased person.
  • Access to the records is in the public interest.

Other things that will be taken into consideration include:

  • the preferences or wishes or the deceased person prior to the death
  • any distress the knowledge of this information may cause to a living person
  • loss of privacy which may affect the reputation of the deceased person
  • views of the surviving family
  • If the records were updated during the 40 days before the date of your application, you should be given access to view within 21 days. If the records were updated more than 40 days before the date of your application, you should be given access within 40 days.

To see a deceased person’s health records, apply in writing using the request for Access to a Deceased Patients’ Records form. Which can be accessed by clicking here.

Bedford Hospital is registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office as a Data Controller under the Data Protection Act 1998. To see details of our registration, please see the following link on the Information Commissioner’s Office website and enter registration number Z5645207.

Luton and Dunstable University Hospital

Clikc here to download the access to health records form

Return the completed form to us attaching your proof of identity documentation.

Email: [email protected]

Or mail to:

Information Governance Team
Access to health records
Luton and Dunstable University Hospital
Lewsey Road

If you are unable to print this form paper copies can be obtained using the following alternative methods:

By visiting the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) located in the Main Reception area of the hospital.
By telephoning the Trust’s Information Governance Team on 01582 497288


We will not charge a fee for providing your information, your child’s heath record, as a nominee for a patient or that of a deceased family member. However, we may charge a ‘reasonable fee’ when a request is manifestly unfounded or excessive, particularly if it is repetitive. We may also charge a reasonable fee to comply with request for further copies of the same information. The fee will be based on the administrative cost of providing the information.

Viewing health records

An appointment MUST be arranged with the Information Governance Department prior to viewing records electronically. Please contact us on 01582 497288. Viewing your health records is free of charge.

The Trust will endeavour to deal with your request within a 21 day time limit (NHS best practices). However, by law we have 30 days to respond. If this is likely to take longer the applicant will be warned and an explanation of the delay provided.

Do you need assistance?
Please do not hesitate to contact the Information Governance Team if you need assistance with completing the form or if you have any questions. They can be contacted on 01582 497288.

If you wish to gain access to any other type of recorded information held by the Trust please see the Freedom of Information pages.