Your general rights

NHS staff will keep personal information about your health strictly confidential.

The Data Protection Act 1998 gives you the right to see personal health information about yourself. This Act aims to protect your personal privacy. Personal information includes records held by hospitals and health professionals.

Health Records

A health record is any record, whether on computer or paper, which includes information about your physical or mental health or condition, and is made by, or , for a health professional involved in your care. So it includes your case notes, letters to and from other health professionals, x-rays, results of laboratory test and MRI scans.

A health professional includes:

  • Pharmacists
  • GPs
  • Dentists
  • Opticians
  • Health Visitors
  • Midwives
  • Physiotherapists
  • Psychologists

The person who holds your records (the health professional or the person responsible for this at the hospital or health board) is known as the data controller, which in this case is Dr Kate Picker- ing.

How To Apply

You can ask the health professional responsible for your care if you can look at the records for your current treatment. Otherwise, you must apply in writing, by post or email.

You should write to the person or organisation you believe holds the information about you i.e. your GP. If you want to see your hospital records, or if you are not registered with a GP, contact your NHS Board or trust and ask them who you should write to. You may need to fill in an application form and give proof of your identity. They may ask you to provide enough information to help identify your records.

You do not need to give a reason for wanting to see your health records.

Who Can Apply?

You can apply to see your records as long as the data controller of health records is satisfied that you understand what this means. In Scotland, we assume that you understand what this means if you are over 12.

Someone else may apply for you if:

  • You have agreed to this;
  • You are under 16, and the other person has parental responsibility;
  • You are an adult, and are not able to look after your own affairs and you have given that person a power of attorney, or he or she has been appointed by the courts. Under the Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000, or a guardianship order. For more information about the Act contact the Office of the Public Guardian.

Under the Access to Health Records Act 1990, you can apply to see the record of a person who has died. You can only see the records made after 1 November 1991. You can only access that person’s records if you are their personal representative, executor or administrator, or if you have a claim for compensation as a result of that person’s death. If you are claiming compensation, you can see information which is relevant to claim.

The data controller of health records will only let you give the information, you would have wanted it to be given to that person.