How to view your GP and hospital records

Your records cover all information relating to your physical or mental health which is recorded by a healthcare professional. You have a legal right to ask to see any information kept about you. However, your health professional can refuse to let you see these if they think seeing them would be seriously harmful to your physical or mental health or if these also relate to another person. The records are kept according to the rules in the Data Protection Act 1998.

How to get copies of your medical records:

To see a summary of your GP records online - contact your GP surgery.

To see your full records, you can ask your GP or hospital for an ‘informal’ look. This may mean making an appointment to visit the Records department. You will not be able to take anything away to keep. If you speak informally to your GP, you might be given a form to fill in. This might be all that you need to do to see the records you want but it is better to put in a written.

Example request letter for seeing your medical records: P4

Healthcare providers have a right to ask for a formal letter. If you don’t send one they have no legal obligation to do what you want. So it is a good idea to do it in writing.

How much will it cost?

The law allows providers to charge for copies of records. These charges apply to all patients, regardless of their financial situation, and your healthcare provider doesn’t have to give you any copies if you don’t pay.

The scale of charges for GP records is:

  • Up to £10 for records that are wholly computer-based
  • Up to £50 for records that are all on paper
  • Up to £50 for records that are partly on computer and partly on paper.

How long should it take?

Once you’ve put in a written request, you should have copies within 40 days (most providers aim to reply within 21 days). In exceptional circumstances, where this isn’t possible, you should be told about any delay.

What you can do if there is a mistake in your records?

If you find something in your records which you think is wrong, you should write to your GP or to the hospital. You need to tell them what you think is wrong and give them any evidence that backs up your version. Medical records cannot usually be changed, because they are a legal document and a record. However, a note can be added to the records explaining why you think they are wrong, and giving your version of events, which is free of charge.

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