How to access medical records


You are entitled to get a copy of your own medical records by law.

You used to be charged for this but now there are changes due to the Data Protection Act 2018 (from 2nd DPA 1998, 1st was 1995).  It will now be free unless excessive or unreasonable.


There are also combined medical records and data sharing being proposed such as the EPR (not to be confused with EPS Electronic Prescription Service). This will be separate for each of the following: –

1. GP surgery.

2. Each hospital Trust you use e.g. Salford Royal Foundation Trust (includes Peninne), Manchester Foundation Trust (includes Trafford and South Manchester).

3. Mental health services if you use them.

This may take a few years to happen (2020?) and is likely to have an opt out option.


If there is an error, personal opinion, anything inaccurate or damaging, you change your medical records sometimes through an amendment note (additional note).  This is currently the most common way, unless there is a serious error then the record itself is changed.

However, the Patients Association told me recently the Right To Be Forgotten was introduced so this may apply in some circumstances (although I’m told by Manchester University NHS FT “erasure will not apply to Health as the lawful basis is public task”)



The rest of this page is old stuff (e.g the bit about being charged).

Some of it might still apply like advocacy support and where to apply (GP, and each hospital separate so apply separately). I will update soon..

Karen Morris


Applying for your records:

• You have to apply to see your records, and some organisations have a form specially designed for this that you are asked to complete. Some larger Hospital Trusts may also have a special department dealing with such requests.

• Records should be made available within one month (CORRECT) of applying to see them, or 21 days if they have been added to within the last 40 days.

• You can request someone to view your records with you and explain anything in there which is not easy to read or uses technical, medical language.

• You can request copies of the records, but must be aware that NHS Bodies can charge you up to £50 for the copying of paper based records.

• You can also request copies of electronic records held about you. The Information Commissioners Office state that this should cost no more than £10. (OUT OF DATE) These charges are sometimes waived if they are requested in connection with a complaint, but you will need to check this with the individual organisation. To help reduce the cost and time this might take, it might be a good idea to think about the specific section of records you would be interested in. For example, you could request notes only from a specific department, or for a particular length of time.



How can I access my health records?

If you want to view your medical records, you may not need to make a formal application. Nothing in the law prevents healthcare professionals from informally showing you your own records. You can make an informal request during a consultation, or by phoning the surgery or hospital to arrange a time to see your records.

How to access your GP record

Some GPs have given online access to their patients’ GP records for some time. From April 2015 all GPs should give their patients online access to summary information in their records. This is part of the drive to provide more GP online services to patients. It should give you more control of your health and well-being, especially if you are managing a condition that needs regular monitoring and frequent prescriptions.

If you wish, you can also request for someone else to have access to your GP record, please contact your practice who will be able to advise you on the best way to go about this.

The NHS is committed to modernising its services so that they are as efficient and effective as possible and put patients in the driving seat of their care. The ambition is that by 2018 every citizen will be able to access their full health records at the click of a button, detailing every visit to the GP and hospital, every prescription, test results, and adverse reactions and allergies.

Offering people the chance to book appointments, order repeat prescriptions and access summary information held in their GP records online is a key milestone on the road towards becoming a truly modern and dynamic healthcare system which is responsive to what patients want.

TipFor more detailed information about the patient online services download the Patient Online FAQ leaflet (PDF, 176kb). Alternatively, look up your local GP on this site and find out what online services the practice provides or read more about GP online booking systems including how to register for it.

How to access your Summary Care Record

If you wish to view your SCR you’ll need to speak with your GP. Unlike GP records you’ll not be able to access them online by yourself. Find out more about Summary Care Records.

How to access other people’s records

If you want to view medical records held by other NHS services you need to make a formal request under the Data Protection Act (1998) and apply in writing to the holder(s) of the records. For example, if you can’t access your GP records online and wish to see a paper version, write to your GP or the practice manager. If you want to see your hospital records, write to the hospital’s patient’s services manager or medical records officer.

To access someone else’s health records, you must:

  • be acting on their behalf with their consent, or
  • have legal authority to make decisions on their behalf (power of attorney), or
  • have another legal basis for access

More detailed information is provided in the article: Can I access someone else’s medical records?

Under Access to Health Records Act (1990) you can make a request to view the records of a deceased person. You can find detailed guidance on how submit your request on the GOV.UK website.

How can I get information in my records changed?

If you think that information in your health records is incorrect or your need to update your personal details (name, address, phone number), approach the relevant health professional informally and ask to have the record amended. Some hospitals and GP surgeries have online forms for updating your details. If this doesn’t work, you can formally request that the information be amended under the NHS complaints procedure.

All NHS trusts, NHS England, CCGs, GPs, dentists, opticians and pharmacists have a complaints procedure. If you want to make a complaint, go to the organisation concerned and ask for a copy of their complaints procedure.

Alternatively, you can complain to the Information Commissioner (the person responsible for regulating and enforcing the Data Protection Act), at:

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO)
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Telephone: 01625 545745

If your request to have your records amended is refused, the record holder must attach a statement of your views to the record.



NHS patients in Wales to be given chance to read their medical records online