Access to healthcare records

The General Data Protection Regulation, and the Data Protection Act 2018 gives every living person or their authorised representative, the right to apply for access to their healthcare record.

What is a healthcare record?

A healthcare record for the purposes of the Act is defined as a record which consists of information about the physical or mental health or condition of an identifiable individual which has been made by or on behalf of a health professional in connection with the care of that individual.

A healthcare record can be recorded in a computerised form or in a manual form or even a mixture of both. They may include such things as, hand written clinical notes, letters to and from other health professionals, laboratory reports, radiographs and other imaging records e.g. X-rays and not just X-ray reports, printouts from monitoring equipment, photographs, videos and tape-recording of telephone conversations (where applicable).

When can records be kept from me?

Under the General Data Protection Regulation and Data Protection Act 2018, there are certain circumstances in which the record holder may withhold information.

Access may be denied or limited where:

  • the information released may cause serious harm to the physical or mental health or condition of the patient
  • where giving access would disclose information relating to or provided by a third party who had not consented to the disclosure

Who can apply for access to their healthcare records?

You have a right to apply if:

  • you are the patient.
  • you have parental responsibility for a patient who is a under the age of 13.
  • you are a 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 given).

How to apply for healthcare records access

Any requests for healthcare records should be made in writing using either our online form , or this Application for Access to Health Records form.

Alternatively, you can contact our Information Governance Department, direct on 01795 514525 (during office hours) to request the Application for Access to Health Records form.

In order for us to maintain confidentiality it is essential that we are satisfied that you are the applicant or a person acting on behalf of the applicant.

Patients have a right to their personal health information being kept confidential and the trust must be satisfied that every applicant is either the named patient or else someone entitled to access of that patient's records. To confirm this and to enable access, the trust will always ask for information additional to that requested on the application form when the application is not being made by the patient. Therefore, we may need to make further enquiries and have proof of identity.

The completed form and a photocopy of your identification should be sent to:

Information Governance Department
St Michaels House
St Michaels Road
Sittingbourne
Kent
ME10 3DW

Or emailed to ig@kmpt.nhs.uk or kmpt.ig@nhs.net

What happens next?

The Information Governance Department will deal with your request directly and will contact you if clarification is required.

They should comply no later than one calendar month following receipt of all necessary information to identify you. In exceptional circumstances if it is not possible to comply within one calendar month the applicant will be informed and an extension applied.

Do I have to pay?

Under the General Data Protection Regulations and the Data Protection Act 2018, you can no longer be charged to access your records.

Accessing a deceased patient record

The Access to Health Records Act 1990 gives a deceased patient's personal representative, 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.

Access can be limited or refused if:

  • there is evidence the patient would not have expected the information would be disclosed to the applicant.
  • if the disclosure is likely to cause serious harm to anyone else.
  • if it would also disclose information about a third party who does not consent.
  • the records contain a note, made at the patient’s request that they did not wish access to be given on an application under this legislation.

Providing copies of Deceased Patient Health Records

To make a request for any deceased patients health information we may hold you will need to complete either our online form, or this Application for Access to Health Records form.

Alternatively, you can contact our Information Governance Department, direct on 01795 514525 (during office hours) to request the Application for Access to Health Records form.

The completed form and a photocopy of your identification should be sent to:

Information Governance Department
St Michaels House
St Michaels Road
Sittingbourne
Kent
ME10 3DW

Or emailed to ig@kmpt.nhs.uk or kmpt.ig@nhs.net

How to apply to rectify or erase your data

Any requests for rectification and erasure of information should be made in writing to:

Information Governance Department
St Michaels House
St Michaels Road
Sittingbourne
Kent
ME10 3DW

Or emailed to ig@kmpt.nhs.uk or kmpt.ig@nhs.net

The right to erasure does not provide an absolute ‘right to be forgotten’. You have a right to have personal data erased and to prevent processing in specific circumstances:

  • where the personal data is no longer necessary in relation to the purpose for which it was originally collected/processed.
  • when you withdraws consent.
  • when you object to the processing and there is no overriding legitimate interest for continuing the processing.
  • the personal data was unlawfully processed (i.e. otherwise in breach of the DPA2018 & GDPR).
  • the personal data has to be erased in order to comply with a legal obligation.
  • the personal data is processed in relation to the offer of information society services to a child.

This right is not limited to processing that causes unwarranted and substantial damage or distress. However, if the processing does cause damage or distress, this is likely to make the case for erasure stronger.

We can refuse to comply with a request for erasure where the personal data is processed for the following reasons:

  • to exercise the right of freedom of expression and information;
  • to comply with a legal obligation for the performance of a public interest task or exercise of official authority.
  • for public health purposes in the public interest; archiving purposes in the public interest, scientific research historical research or statistical purposes; or the exercise or defence of legal claims.

Please note that the right to be forgotten does not apply to special category data .i.e. your medical record.

Contact us

Data Protection Officer:
Leanne McDougall
Tel: 01795 514507
Email: kmpt.ig@nhs.net
 
Information Governance Team
Tel: 01795 514525
Email: kmpt.ig@nhs.net

Useful documents

Application for Access to Health Records form (you can also use the online form listed below)

Useful pages

GDPR
Privacy notices
Records online application form