How do I access information you hold about me?
Under the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) living individuals have a number of rights relating to the personal information that organisations hold about them. One of these is the right to view or obtain copies of the information that we hold about you, including your medical records. This is known as a subject access request or SAR.
SARs have to be made in writing and although you do not have to complete our application form, I would urge you to read it so that you can see the information we need in order to handle your request efficiently.
To be valid, your written request/completed application form must be accompanied by the fee and evidence of your identity, so that we can be sure that you are entitled to receive the requested information.
If you are applying on someone else’s behalf, we will also need evidence of their consent. Alternatively, you may have a legal right to represent a patient, for example, where they are unable to manage their own affairs and you have a Lasting Power of Attorney (Health and Welfare); or, in the case of a young child, you have parental responsibility.
Accessing a deceased patient’s health/medical record
The Access to Health Records Act 1990 permits access to relevant parts of a deceased patient’s health/medical records in certain circumstances. This is only permitted if:
- you are the deceased person’s ‘personal representative’; or
- you have a claim arising from the individual’s death
You can read more about the process, the fees and the evidence of identity required in the Accessing your personal information leaflet and on our application form.
Making your request
If you would like to use our application form, you can download it here: Application Form
A number of staff deal with the different types of request. If you need further guidance before submitting your request, please contact the relevant team:
|Department||Requests relating to|
|Medical Records SARs Team
T: 01737 768511 ext 6740
|Accessing adult medical records (where no claim against the Trust is anticipated)|
|Legal Services Department
T: 01737 768511 ext 1772
|Accessing children’s records; or potential claims against the Trust|
|HR Business Partner
T: 01737 768511 – please ask the switchboard to put you through to the relevant divisional HR Business Partner
|Accessing information in personnel files|
All requests and enclosures should be marked for the relevant team and sent to:
Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust
East Surrey Hospital
We are legally obliged to provide you with a response within 40 calendar days, although in most cases, we are able to reply more quickly. The 40 days commences once we have received all of the following:
- your written request
- the fee
- satisfactory evidence of your identity
- a description of the information requested
If you are acting on behalf of another person, we will also need evidence of your authority to do so.
Please make sure that you describe clearly the information you would like to receive as we may otherwise have to contact you for clarification, which would delay your request.
We will send your information by recorded delivery, unless you arrange to collect the information in person (in which case you would need to bring evidence of your identity and address with you).
Sometimes we are not able to disclose all the information in your record – for example if the information concerns somebody else as well. Further details of these exemptions are in our leaflet above.
What if I’m unhappy with the response?
If you make a request and are not satisfied with the way in which we dealt with it, you may ask us to review any decision we make. If you wish to undertake such a review you should write to our Patient Advice and Liaison Service at the above address.
If you remain dissatisfied with the outcome of any such review, you may complain to the Information Commissioner, whose address is:
Information Commissioner’s Office
The Information Commissioner has produced a range of guidance on your rights under the Data Protection Act 1998, including your subject access rights. You can find this on the ICO website