Under the Data Protection Act 1998, you have a legal right to access your health records. If you want to see your health records you can write to your Doctor to request a time to come in and read them. You don’t have to give a reason for wanting to see your records.
It’s a good idea to state the dates of the records that you want to see – for example, from 2009-2012 – and to send the letter by recorded delivery. You should also keep a copy of your letter for your records. You will usually receive a response to your request within 21 days, although the law states that your hospital, or the Practice, has up to 40 days to respond.
As well as having a copy of your health records the Practice will also have a summary of any hospital tests, or treatment, that you have had. Any hospitals where you have had treatment, or tests, will also hold records.
To see your hospital health records, you will have to contact your local Hospital.
Your request to see your records will be forwarded to the health records manager. The manager will decide whether your request will be approved. Your request will usually only be refused if your records manager, GP, or other health professional believes that information in the records is likely to cause you, or another person, serious harm.
Optician and dental records
Your optician and dentist also hold records about you. To access your optician or dental records, you will need to contact them directly; you may need to show proof of identity.
Power of attorney:
Your health records are confidential, and members of your family are not allowed to see them, unless you give them written permission, or they have power of attorney.
A lasting power of attorney is a legal document that allows you to appoint someone to make decisions for you, should you become incapable of making decisions yourself.
The person you appoint is known as your attorney. An attorney can make decisions about your finances, property, and welfare. It is very important that you trust the person you appoint so that they do not abuse their responsibility. A legal power of attorney must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian before it can be used.
If you wish to see the health records of someone who has died, you will have to apply under the Access to Medical Records Act 1990. You can only apply if you: are that person’s next of kin, are their legal executor (the person named in a will who is in charge of dealing with the property and finances of the deceased person), have the permission of the next of kin, or have obtained written permission from the deceased person before they died. To access the records of a deceased person, you must go through the same process as a living patient. This means either contacting the Practice or the hospital where the records are stored.
For further information please click on the undernoted link.
Electronic Health Records
What does the future hold?
In the future, all patients in Scotland will have an electronic health record. The rest of this leaflet explains why this is important for providing the best possible care in the NHS.
What is an electronic health record?
- It is any information about your health and health care which is stored electronically.
- We will use an identifying number called the Community Health Index number ( CHI for short) to link up the different parts of your health record held in different places within the NHS.
How are my records stored at the moment?
- Most of your health information has traditionally been recorded on paper files that are kept in different places. For example, you will have one set of records at your GP surgery, and another set at any hospital you have been to.
- In Rubislaw Place Medical Group all your previous paper records will be scanned into an electronic format.
- GPs and hospitals store some records electronically, but the different computers they use are not linked up. So when you go to a hospital, staff there cannot look at the health record held in your GP surgery.
What are the benefits of electronic health records?
- NHS staff will be able to find medical information about you much more quickly.
- Staff treating you will have a more complete picture of your health and your medical background. For example, we will be able to see quickly if you have any long-term medical conditions, or if you have recently had an operation.
- This information will be available even when you are not at home – for example, if you are in another part of Scotland.
- It will be easier for you to look at your own health records, for example, if you want to check that they are correct.
How soon will I have an electronic health record?
- We are already storing the majority of our records electronically, but it will take some time before all your health records are held electronically.
- It will also take quite a long time before we are able to link all your records, using the CHI number.
- Most test results are now stored on computer. This means your GP gets the results more quickly, without having to wait for a letter.
- Letters about your care and treatment are often sent electronically between NHS staff and stored on computer. This may happen if, for example, your GP refers you to hospital or if you leave hospital.