Why can't I access my own medical record for free?

I no longer trust any medical practicioner to manage my health and now want copies of every blood test results/scans/reports that I've ever had. Incidentally, we all have right of access to our own medical records under the Data Protection Act (1998), however, some people working in the medical field still seem to be refusing patient access to their own data, concerning them and noone else. My GP has been cooperative and gives me a copy of every blood test result I have, however, I'm having trouble accessing other data held in hosptals they seem reluctant to give me a copy of my own blood test results and in one particular instance I was told I'd have to pay £50 for a copy. This sounds unreasonable to me. It gets stranger still, as it turns out the law states you CAN access data concerning you, the patient, free of charge, this can be in the form of a follow-up consultation, a phone convesation, or through your GPs if they have access. However, the most reliable form of evidence concerning your data i.e. a copy, warrants a charge. I'm dumbstruck. I can't imagine the charge would cover realistic costs i.e. printing, sending, so what right do they have to do that? I know I have every right to data that concerns me, copies and all, but I refuse to pay such an extortionate cost for it.

15 Replies

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  • you do have the right, the charge will be a nominal £50 for photocopying. You must be specific and state that you want copies of all medical records, scans and transcripts of all and any meetings/ telephone conversations and consultations.

    If there is anything to hide it will be missing;trust me

  • The charges for copies are a maximum of £50 for manually kept records and a maximum of £10 for records held on computer. The point is, the charge is disproportionate to the work required. In my case I only require a copy of 1 or 2 sheets containing my blood test results, this hardly justifies £50.

  • I'm the same everything's on computer now , I want copies of my MRI ,, I don't seem to be be able to get copies of even my diagnosis letter x

  • Well, you'd expect every record within at least the last 10-15 years to have been stored on computer. I'm asking for records made 4 years ago. Not even my GP has access to them, the record is sat somewhere on a database controlled by people who no longer form part of my care and who are disuading people from accessing their own records by applying extortionate charges for printouts.

    If you pay for private blood test, you get a copy of the results, why should NHS records be any different? It just shows the NHS isn't so transparent.

  • the joke about the £50 is they are on the computer system. I was sent my MRI's by email, now I can tell you it's no fun looking inside your brain at that little bugger which has screwed up my life.

  • I had to pay for my MRI scan and it's a good job I did, now I can show it to the best medic on the other side of the world!

  • Agreed. Except the data isn't theirs alone, whilst the consultants and their secretaries can look at them at their own disclosure, the records don't affect their health, only potentially yours, so it's rather disgusting if you think about it.

  • Do you not have a sympathetic GP, mine is good and is doing loads of free stuff for me, writting letters and all that. Keep making appointments at the surgery and just ask, If I want you to help me medically, will you charge me, when they say no, ask? you never know it might work, I could not rate my GP higher than I do, he calls me and all sorts.

  • So far my GP has been understanding of my requests for medical information, it is my data too and he understands that. The hospital however have their own set of records that GPs don't always have access to. So i'm fighting against an entire establishment whom don't form part of my care but whom hold information pertaining to my past and therefore by implication, future health care. That's an effective phrase..but I don't think I'd be able to say it, in a world of advesarial communication I always end up the loser. You clearly know how to pull all the right strings though.

  • I wouldn't have a problem paying for printing/postage costs which should total no more than £5 and probably much less. The NHS charging extortionate fees for access to portions of your medical record is a bit like your best mate snapping embarassing photos of you then asking for money in order to delete them.

  • i got a letter written by a consultant for Criminal injuries compo i had only see her once so the letter was a few lines and it cost £100

  • This situation is slightly different to the one i'm describing. If you need the work of a consultant or any other professional whilst not under their care/non-related to your care then you most likely would have to pay out-of-pocket. Given that it's for an injuries compensation, the medical fees/costs should be covered by the insurance companies.

  • I HAVE HAD A PROBLEM ACCESSING MY MEDICAL RECORDS SINCE MY ABI 20 YRS AGO.THEY CONTINUALLY FOB ME OFF.I FELT SURE THERE HAD TO BE SOMETHING IN THEM THE QUACKS DID NOT WANT ME TO SEE.I GOT BITS OF INFO FROM A NEW NEURO WHO MISTAKENLY SLIPPED UP IN TELLING ME WHEN I ASKED HIM WHY ON EARTH WAS I UNABLE TO SEE THEM.HE SAID IT WAS BECAUSE THE ABI WAS SO CONFUSING BETWEEN THE EXPERTS THEY HAD WRITTEN DNR ON MY FILE WHEN I HAD ONLY A DAY AND HALF TO LIVE.PLUS OTHER THINGS THEY SHOULDN'T HAVE WRITTEN.I KNOW I CAN ASK UNDER THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT BUT ANY TIME I HAVE ASKED I AM TOLD LOTS OF CHILDISH EXCUSES AS TO WHY I CANNOT SEE THEM.ANY ONE HAVE ANY SUGESTIONS???ALL HELP GRATEFULY NEEDED.

  • I should add that the amount of sheer rubbish I've seen on the system about Mum, e.g. letters from clinic visits which contain incorrect information just makes me want to know more. So even if it's just to make sure the right information is "circulating", do pressure them.

  • It's good to know that there are well-intentioned doctors' secretaries out there, but unfortunately it seems some of them abuse their position of power, able to view patient's information at their own discretion whilst charging those same patients extortionate amounts for access to their own records. Fortunately the tide is changing and eventually patients will be able to access all information held about them on a network, about time too.

    BTW I was right not to pay the £50 for my test results, I ended up having them posted to me for free with a bit of encouragement on my part.

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