Everyone in the UK has a legal right to see their own medical or health records under the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR). Under GDPR accessing your medical records is free, and you do not have to pay anything.
You do not have to explain why you want to see them, and you can nominate someone else, for example a solicitor, to view your records, provided they have written consent.
Your request could be refused if a health professional believes seeing the records would be seriously harmful to your physical or mental health.
Your medical records include any information about your physical or mental health recorded by a healthcare professional. This includes records made by hospital staff, GPs, dentists, and opticians. It can also include health records kept by your employer.
The type of information which could be included laboratory reports, test results, recordings of telephone calls, X-rays, letters, prescription charts and clinical notes.
You’ll have separate records for any NHS service you go to including your GP surgery, hospital, dentist, or opticians. These records are not shared between services and not kept in one place, so you need to apply for your records to each service separately.
Your GP record includes information including any conditions or allergies, medication, test results, letters, and appointment notes. You can access your GP record and nominate someone you trust to access it too.
You can simply ask for your GP record at your GP surgery. They can email the records or print out paper copies if you prefer.
If you have an NHS online account, you can get your GP record by logging into your account using the NHS App or NHS website.
For any other medical records, you need to ask at the NHS service you attended. This includes hospital records, and consultant appointments. You can call the service, ask in person or check the website for the NHS service. You might be asked to fill out a form to ask for access. To find out where your records are held ask your GP surgery, they should be able to tell you.
You can formally request any of your medical records in writing if the information you need is not covered by your GP record, or if you want hardcopies and you do not want to use the online services.
You can write a letter or email requesting copies of your records. Include information on exactly what you want to see. Keep copies of any letters you send and receive.
Most healthcare providers aim to respond to requests within three weeks. If you do not hear back within this time, write again, or call to request an update. If you have not heard anything after 40 days, you can make a formal complaint.
If you need help, call the Patients Association’s Helpline: 0800 345 7115.