Access to medical records

There are several different types of health records, accessing them is free, and healthcare professionals have a legal requirement to allow you to see them.

GP records

GP records include information about your medicine, allergies, vaccinations, previous illnesses and test results, hospital discharge summaries, appointment letters and referral letters. You can access your GP records, and nominate someone you trust to access them by contacting us directly or through GP online services like NHS App. More information about GP online services on the NHS website: Visit GP online services.

Your Summary Care Record

If you’ve registered with us, you’ll have a Summary Care Record unless you’ve chosen not to have one. It contains basic information including your allergies, medicines and any reactions you’ve had to medicine in the past. During the coronavirus outbreak, you will also have extra information added to your record. This includes significant medical history (past and present), reasons for medicines, care plan information and vaccinations. You cannot get your Summary Care Record online. If you’d like to see it, please contact us.

Accessing someone else’s records

Health and care records are confidential so you can only access someone else’s records if you’re authorised to do so. To access someone else’s health records, you must:

  • be acting on their behalf with their consent, or
  • have the legal authority to make decisions on their behalf (power of attorney), or
  • have another legal basis for access

Applying for access to someone else’s health records

A request for someone’s health and care records should be made directly to The Surgery(1) or the NHS SAR team(2). This is known as a Subject Access Request (SAR), as set out by the Data Protection Act of 2018.

(1)To request this directly from The Surgery, please download the SAR form (there are two versions: PDF or Word), fill it in on paper or electronically and send it:

  • by post to: FAO James Burns, The Old School Surgery, Manor Road, Bristol, BS16 2JD, or
  • by email to: [email protected]

(2)To request this from the NHS SAR team please download the Subject Access Request form here, fill it in on paper or electronically and send it:

  • by post to: Information Governance Delivery Team, NHS England, 7 and 8 Wellington Place, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 4AP, or
  • by email to NHS SAR team [email protected]

More information about the NHS SAR is here.

You will need the patient or service user’s written consent if you wish to access their record. Where written consent is not possible, other arrangements will be necessary. Under the Data Protection Act, requests for access to records should be responded to as soon as possible, or within 1 month. However, government guidance for healthcare organisations says they should aim to respond within 21 days.

Refused request

We can refuse to supply some of your requests if, for example:

  • it is likely to cause serious harm to the physical or mental health of any individual
  • the information you have asked for contains information that relates to another person

If your request is rejected or you have a complaint about the process, you can complain to James Burns our Operations Manager. If you are still not satisfied, you can make a complaint to the Information Commissioner’s Office.

Patients unable to give consent

If a person does not have the mental capacity to manage their own affairs and you are their attorney, you will have the right to apply for access to their health and care records. This would apply, for example, if you have a Lasting Power of Attorney with authority to manage their property and affairs. The same applies to a person appointed to make decisions about such matters by the Court of Protection in England and Wales.

Accessing children’s records

A person with parental responsibility will usually be entitled to access the records of a child who is aged 12 or younger. Children aged 13 or older are usually considered to have the capacity to give or refuse consent to parents requesting access to their health records unless there is a reason to suggest otherwise. Although British Medical Association guidance says that every reasonable effort must be made to encourage the child to involve parents or guardians. Read more information about accessing someone else’s records.

Getting your records changed

If you think your health record is incorrect, you should let us know and we will help you to update it.