Access to historical medical records: I have been... - Thyroid UK

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Access to historical medical records


I have been having a gut of a time trying to access my medical records to obtain historical blood test results so I can see what thyroid, antibodies and vitamin tests have been previously conducted.

I can access results, coded records etc, but only back to December 2017. My surgery reception staff have told me my online records do not go any further back than Dec 2017 and I must now fill out a paper form and wait up to a month for a paper copy of my full record as they aren't available online. I must also provide a reason why I wish to obtain my record (which my GP can apparently deny) along with range dates.

Forgive me, but I was under the impression medical records have been available online since 2015? I understand records may not go back indefinitely, but can anyone advise on exactly what the law is regardinh accessing my records and how far back I can view as info on NHS website is pretty hazy.

Many thanks x

14 Replies

You are no obliged to give any reason whatsoever

They are your results and you add entitled to them.

DJR1 is rather an expert on this. May add some comments

ILR2019 in reply to SlowDragon

Thank you SlowDragon. I'll head to that account x

helvellaAdministrator in reply to ILR2019

I'd argue that even asking why you want them is a potential infringement of your rights. Aside from anything else it puts you into a position in which you might feel forced to lie or tell them something you don't want them to know. Either is unacceptable.

ILR2019 in reply to helvella

Good points! I guess there is also a risk a written reason could be viewed by someone without granted access to patient records etc.

It appears that GPs can decide on the levels of access they offer, per se, although there has been a requirement for some time to allow access.

Some practises seem to allow everything, and some are still just doing appointments and repeat prescription.

I had had access to my coded record for some years, having been told my full record wan't available. I noticed a few months ago I now had the option to request my full record, which I did.

I had my coded record withdrawn, but could see my full record for the past 2 years only.

I had to make a formal, written request for full record, whole of life, but once received, my settings were changed in front of me, and my whole record, whle life was available when I got home.

The whole record from 20+ years ago is a bit sketchy and seem to really be the highlights (OK, bigger diagnoses or treatments), but I guess that's potentially due to transcription issues.

ILR2019 in reply to MMaud

How strange. I was told categorically that I would not be able to view any further info online beyond what I can currently see as anything previous to this point in time could only be viewed by physical copy. So it seems not only is patient care a lottery, but so to is viewing our own data 🙄 I'm smell a rat.

Lora7 in reply to ILR2019

I used to work for the NHS doing admin and after I left the Pharmacy Dept I took a part time job in the Medical Records Dept. My job was to was to pull records for the Out Patient Clinics. The number of times I would look for someones records only to find some Consultant or Doctor had taken them and misplaced them somewhere. One time a Consultant had left someones records in the boot of his car and been driving around with them. This was about 20 years ago so I hope things have changed now but I doubt it. I find it ironic that you aren't allowed to view your own records when I am sure years ago because of someones carelessness anybody could have viewed your private records without your knowledge.

ILR2019 in reply to Lora7

And no doubt when they could charge per paper copy they weren't so shy

You absolutely DO NOT have to complete any form:

"The GDPR does not specify how to make a valid request. Therefore, an individual can make a subject access request to you verbally or in writing. It can also be made to any part of your organisation (including by social media) and does not have to be to a specific person or contact point................................. However, even if you have a form, you should note that a subject access request is valid if it is submitted by any means, so you will still need to comply with any requests you receive in a letter, a standard email or verbally.

Therefore, although you may invite individuals to use a form, you must make it clear that it is not compulsory and do not try to use this as a way of extending the one month time limit for responding."

More info here:

helvellaAdministrator in reply to MaisieGray

Let that be shouted across the country!


ILR2019 in reply to MaisieGray

Oh thank you for that link! Very interesting reading, in particular...

"However, if an individual refuses to provide any additional information, you must still endeavour to comply with their request".

I really wish I knew this before approaching the surgery. I'm going to fill their request form in, but I think in the 'reason for access' box I will make a note regarding the ICO. I'm trying to tread carefully because I live in a small village and am cautious not to alienate or be labelled a trouble patient, however I am also fed up being walked over and fobbed off at every turn just for trying to get sufficiently treated.

I just put "its my body". They cannot argue with that!

ILR2019 in reply to serenfach


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