Access to medical records

Who else has access to my records?

There is a balance between your privacy and safety and we will share some information about you and with others involved in your care, unless you ask us not to. This could include doctors, medical students, nurses, therapists and technicians involved in the treatment or investigation if your medical condition. Our staff need access to notify the health authority of registration details and perform various filing and administrative tasks on the medical records. All of our doctors, nurses and staff have a legal, ethical and contractual duty to protect your privacy and confidentiality.

Where else do we send Patient Information?

We are required by law to notify the government of various infectious diseases (e.g. meningitis, measles but not AIDS) for public health reasons. The law courts can also insist the GPs disclose medical records to them. Doctors cannot refuse to co-operate with the court without risking serious punishment. We are often asked for medical reports from the Benefits Agency, solicitors or insurance companies. These will always be accompanied by the patient’s signed consent for us to disclose any information unless otherwise stated. We will not normally release details about other people (e.g. wife, children, parents, etc) that are contained in your records unless we also have their consent. Limited information is shared with the health authorities to help them organise national programmes for public health such as childhood immunisations, cervical smear tests and breast screening. GPs must disclose all relevant medical conditions unless you ask us not to do so. In that case, we would have to inform the insurance company that you have instructed us not to make a full disclosure to them. You have the right, should you request it, to see reports to insurance companies or employers before they are sent.

How can I find out what’s in my records?

We are required by law to allow you access to your medical records, if you wish to see them. All requests to view medical records should be made in writing to the surgery. We are allowed by law to charge a fee to cover our administration and costs. We have a duty to keep your medical records accurate and up to date. Please feel free to advise us of any errors of fact which may have crept into your medical records over the years.

What we will not do

To protect your privacy and confidentiality, we will not normally disclose any medical information including results over the telephone unless we are sure we are talking to you. This means we will not disclose information to your family, friends and colleagues about any medical matters at all, unless we have your consent to do so.