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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

Click here to download the access to health records form

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

Bedford Hospital

Email: [email protected]

Or mail to:
Subject Access Department
Bedford Hospital South Wing
Britania Road
Bedford
MK42 9DJ

Tel: 01234 355122 extn 5828

Secure Fax: 01234 792688

Luton and Dunstable University Hospital

Email: [email protected]

Or mail to:
Information Governance Team
Access to health records
Luton and Dunstable University Hospital
Lewsey Road
Luton
Bedfordshire
LU4 0DZ

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 or by telephoning the Information Governance Team on 01582 497288.

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.

Fees

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 Bedford on 01234 355122 extn 5828, and the L&D 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. Bedford based team can be contacted on 01234 355122 extn 5828 and the L&D based team 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