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Your rights to access your own medical records

View profile for Judith Thomas-Whittingham
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How can I view my medical records?

Although you have been able to access your own medical records for some time now, did you know that you no longer need to pay for the request?

Since the implementation of the General Data Protection Regulations in 2018, a patient’s request to access their medical records must be provided to you free of charge and within one month of your request. This is also commonly referred to as a subject access request (SAR).

Your GP is not supposed to query the request for the information, however, they may offer to provide them in an electronic format, rather than send to you paper copies. It may be reasonable for them to clarify the reason for the request to ensure that they provide you with the records which you are requesting, particularly if your medical records are very large.

If you have instructed a solicitor to obtain your medical records then provided you have completed and signed the appropriate consent form, the GP is obligated to deal with the request in exactly the same way as if the request came directly from you, the patient. Your GP may contact you separately to check that you have authorised your solicitor to obtain your medical records.

If you have made a request to your GP for access to your medical records by way of a subject access request and this has been refused, or they are not provided the records to you within a month of your request, then you have a right to complain to the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) who are an independent body established to promote openness by public bodies and uphold information rights. They can be contacted at www.ico.org.uk or call their helpline on 0303 123 1113. The website also contains a very useful template letter to help you with your request.