In Confidence

Lucy Sherry, Solicitor-Advocate at Thomson & Bancks on your right to access medical records.

Under the Data Protection Act 1998, living adults with capacity or their representatives can have access to their medical records, whether held by the GP, NHS or a private hospital. Where there are no nominated individuals, requests for access to information relating to incapacitated adults should be granted if it is in the ‘best interests of the patient’.


A health record is any record which consists of information relating to the physical or mental health of an individual made by a health professional in connection with the care of that individual, such as:-


a computerised or manual form

a medical opinion

notes made during consultations

correspondence between health professionals

test results

x-rays, videotapes, audiotapes, photographs and tissue samples.


Unless a particular record’s contents may be reasonably deemed to harm a patient psychologically and it cannot be redacted to remove those comments, full disclosure of all records must follow within 40 days of a request accompanied by payment of the relevant administration fee: health records held on computer up to a maximum of £10; records held in part on computer and in part manually up to a maximum of £50; records held manually up to a maximum of £50.


If a patient has passed away, their Executor may apply for their records under the Access to Health Records Act 1990, in relation to which there are no maximum copying charges. GP records are generally retained offsite by the Primary Care Trust for 10 years post death.



Lucy offers advice and representation by way of private funding, a legal expenses insurance policy or ‘No Win, No Fee’ arrangement. An initial interview is offered free of charge, should you have any queries about making a personal injury or medical negligence claim. Lucy is based in Thomson & Bancks’ Cheltenham office but appointments are also available in Pershore or Tewkesbury.



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