Access my Medical Records
Formal requests under the Data Protection Act
Under the Data Protection Act 1998, you have a legal right to apply for access to health information held about you. A health record contains information about your mental and physical health recorded by a healthcare professional as part of your care. The Data Protection Act 1998 applies to patient information held relating to living patients, on computers and in manual filing systems.
Applying for access to your medical records (SAR)
This is known as a Subject Access Request (SAR). To request a copy of your medical record, submit your request in writing or by email using this form to:
Subject Access Department
Bedford Hospital NHS Trust
Tel: 01234 355122 extn 5828
Secure Fax: 01234 792688
Your request will be reviewed and the Trust can refuse your request if, for example, we believe that releasing the information may cause serious harm to your physical or mental health or that of another person.
A confirmation letter will be issued requesting payment for the records. When payment and satisfactory documentation has been received by Bedford Hospital NHS Trust we will endeavour to release the information within Department of Health guidelines which require us to comply with your request within 21 days. However the Data Protection Act gives us 40 days from when we receive your completed request and payment. The process of replying can take some time depending on what you have asked for.
Requests from Solicitors must be accompanied by a consent form signed by the patient. If you would like to make a request on behalf of a relative, you will need to complete the form as above and provide satisfactory proof of identification as well as the relevant fee. Please download the General Information and Fees document for more information.
Fees to Subject Access Requests
The fees chargeable for subject access requests are determined, in the case of living individuals, by the Data Protection Act 1998 and the Data Protection (Subject Access)(Fees and Miscellaneous Provisions) Regulations 2000 and, in the case of deceased individuals by the Access to Health Records Act 1990.
For more information on Fees, please see the Subject Access General Information and Fees document.
Applying for access to a deceased person’s health records
Under the Access to Health Records Act 1990, only specific people have the right to apply for access to the health records of someone who has died. They are:
- the personal representative of the person who has died
- any person who may have a claim resulting from the person’s death
To see a deceased person’s health records, you will be required to provide evidence of your identity and the reason for your request.
If you do not fall under one of these categories, then access to a deceased person’s records will be judged on an individual basis. Based on the following:
- A valid reason.
- A legitimate relationship to the deceased person.
- Access to the records is in the public interest.
Other things that will be taken into consideration include:
- the preferences or wishes or the deceased person prior to the death
- any distress the knowledge of this information may cause to a living person
- loss of privacy which may affect the reputation of the deceased person
- views of the surviving family
If the records were updated during the 40 days before the date of your application, you should be given access to view within 21 days. If the records were updated more than 40 days before the date of your application, you should be given access within 40 days.
To see a deceased person’s health records, apply in writing using the request for Access to a Deceased Patients’ Records form.
Bedford Hospital NHS Trust is registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office as a Data Controller under the Data Protection Act 1998. To see details of our registration, please see the following link on the Information Commissioner’s Office website and enter registration number Z5645207.