Anybody had experience of requesting copy of your hospital records?

I don't know why it's only just occurred to me, but I'm preparing my request for copies of hospital records since I first saw a rheumy. The only way I can think of that makes them legally tell me what is going on, then I might put in a complaint. Really, though, all I want is the info. I know about potential charges for this.

16 Replies

  • Hi I have a nurse appointment tomorrow am for a 24hr blood pressure monitor to see if my meds are working, I will ask her if there is a charge. I mention it, as I am always able to get copies of my blood tests from her as she also has access to hospital records (my GP does not know how to access them). No charge. Not sure how far back I can go and if they were extensive records, if they would charge me. ML

  • I've only requested my reports piecemeal so far - test by test, report by report, from either my GP or the specialist clinician responsible.

    My experience is that it does work, but despite the electronic sharing of records, there seem to be numerous glitches in the system so that my GPs don't always have full access to all my hospital records (for instance, last month, I had to walk to another part of the hospital to ask my respirologist's secretary to send the results of a CT scan to my GP by post because the electronic systems used in the CT suite can't communicate with the GP system).

    So if I was after my full records, I would probably put a written/email request into both the hospital trust where I see my specialists AND one into my GP.

    This is what it says on the NHS Choices site

    Good luck!

  • Should have said to address your request to the hospitals meducal records department. They will arrange the copying and tell you the fee. My local hospital emailed me when they got my letter. Unfortunately if you need GP and hospital records, they can each charge the max fee.

  • I found this, too, my GP only seems to have my records for the last few years and not my life-time, which I feel is very relevant with auto-immune problems. Little quirks in the distant pass can often signify undiagnosed immune problems.

  • You are entitled to copies under The Data Protection Act 1998. I used to request other people's notes in my job all the time. I think the max fee was £50. But I'm not sure this is currently the case. May have gone up. I now ask my GP for copies of blood tests as I go along. They charge £1 per A4 sheet. Which is high. As the bloods always are in 2 pages for one set of bloods - so £2 fee for one set of blood test results. But they cannot deny you access. I recently got a copy of my spinal MRI on disk. I'll see if I can find it and sent it to you in a PM. Sorry for quick reply - meant to be cooking for my family!

  • We requested a copy of my baby son's records after some shocking mis-management in 2006. We paid £50 and they duly arrived. The set that was subsequently requested by our solicitor was minus certain vital pages that had been included in the first set by the unsuspecting clerk. Shocking but it does go on. The request process in itself is straightforward and should include X-rays/scans etc.

  • That's so shocking but not altogether surprising to me Clare.

    My mother in law has a rare heart condition that, in her case, has only never killed her because of whereabouts it has just happened to land. So my husband and three sons all have to get regular cardio checks done - husband very unlikely to develop this now and sons much less likely as they grow older.

    When I asked my GP, five years ago why they hadn't been checked for much longer than the 3 year gap recommended - he asked the hospital and was sent an electronic record of this having been done at the correct interval for all four of them. We were all absolutely sure these checks hadn't taken place. So when they went for their next check ups the cardio nurse looked at these previous results and commented that children have very accurate memories and the nature of the recordings told her that these had been falsified! Or rather she strongly hinted at this because she didn't want to get into trouble.

    I wouldn't trust my records from this hospital to be an accurate reflection of things now. I don't think GP practices can doctor records easily but I know for a fact that hospitals can!

  • Thanks for all the replies. The hospital part - rheumy, is what I'm aiming for. The clerical ( for lack of a better word) communications seem to be the greatest problem. Not even all there for my GP. I know I'm legally entitled via Data Protection. The electronic records don't seem to get across because of different systems. My GP is helpful but what he hasn't been told is in a dark hole that I hope may be in rheumyland. According to current regulations this may cost up to £50, but more than worth it to know what's going on in the body I live in.

    I have a physio appointment tomorrow where the rheumy's hold clinics. I'll see what I can glean there.

  • The rules in Scotland maybe different to other areas . Here in Scotland you apply in writing to your local health authority and they give you an appointment when you can have access to your records, the medical secretary sits with while you read them,if you want copies of any thing they will be photocopied at the end of your appointment. I hope this has helped.

  • Thanks everybody. I've got the basic info I needed now - thanks to a physio where rheumy is based x

  • It may have changed now, but I requested mine in 2002.

    I had great difficulty even after initially thinking everything was ok.

    I was told it would cost £50, but I wasn't working because I was off ill after treatment and drugs at the hospital which caused me to be far more ill than when I entered the hospital.

    I explained and was told they are free if making a complaint, which wasn't my intention, but after thinking about it, I said I have plenty to complain about, so yes, I will make a complaint then.

    However, the records weren't forthcoming and it took several attempts by my MP to get the records and parts were missing, prescription changes and the writing was appalling to read.

    I also found that my penicillin allergy had not been written in large red letters as you would expect in a life and death situation, but hardly visible in a small corner.

    That was when I actually woke up and twigged what was going on - I don't trust anyone with my health or records except myself and I record every visit; every name; every conversation and every drug I am offered or have taken. Luckily, I had a good memory and remembered exactly what happened and wrote names of clinicians and what they said. It took 5 years, but I eventually got an apology for what happened to me, not that this helped much, but at least I let the hospital board and the health ombudsman know exactly what happened and it over-ruled their lies, which I suspect was due to fear of being sued!

  • OMG Cann - that sounds even worse than our experience of trying to prove negligence. Luckily for us, one nurse had filed an incident report detailing the various life threatening mistakes that had been made and it unintentionally ended up in our laps. Oops.

    You did well to get an apology. Battles like this go some considerable way in protecting other people from going through the same nightmare.

  • Yes, that was my intention, but I have heard similar stories of the experiences of others since I went through the complaint system, so I wonder how much good it actually did.

  • Obviously things are different everywhere. I often get copies of letters from hospital to my GP. I can also get copies of hospital reports from my GP surgery from receptionist. I have never had to pay a penny.

  • Drives me nuts that this used to be common practice, but not here. The very first time I was seen, the blood showed a serious VitD3 definciency. Took that junior doc three months to dictate a letter to GP and another three months for it to be typed, then a couple of weeks to be posted. GP rolled eyes at being given advice on best practice for vitD deficiency. That's the last letter ever copied to me. I'm not a conspiracy theorist, but I complained and have never had a letter copied since.

    Young junior doc, 21st century, clearly competent to quickly make notes on hospital records, but never heard of email?

  • I paid 20.00for extensive hospital records going back 10 years plus I got a disk with my xray pics on it.

    I rang the medical access dept of our local hospital.

    When I asked my GP secretary they charged 25.00 for a short letter.

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