Under the provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA 1998) patients are entitled to read what is written in their medical records. They are not entitled to view their record, although the Dr may allow this as a goodwill gesture, but they are entitled to a copy.
Applications must be in writing, and accompanied with proof of identity. Download the application for Access to Health Records Application Form
The GP who is most familiar with the patient will review the record to make sure there is nothing contained which might cause severe harm or distress to that patient. References to third parties e.g. family members must be removed from any copies.
Amendments to or deletions from records: if a patient feels information recorded on their health record is incorrect then they should firstly make an informal approach to a GP to discuss having the records amended. The practice (as the data controller) must take reasonable steps to ensure that notes are accurate but if the patient believes these to be inaccurate, that this is noted in the records. The patient has a “right” under the DPA to request that personal information contained within the medical records is rectified, blocked, erased or destroyed if this has been inaccurately recorded.
Time Limits: copies to be provided within 21 days and by no later than 40 days after the request has been made.