The first step in investigating any claim for medical negligence will be to obtain and consider the content of any relevant medical notes and records.
You are entitled to access any personal information held about you under the terms of the Data Protection Act 1990, or under the provisions of the Access to Health Records Act 1990, in the case of a Deceased individual.
We will normally obtain copies of your medical notes and records for you as part of our investigations into your claim, but have provided some information below to help you understand the process and to assist you should you decide that you would like to obtain any records yourself.
The cost of obtaining medical notes and records for a living individual is governed by the Data Protection Regulations 200 and is limited to £50.00 per set of records, inclusive of administration charges and VAT.
Unfortunately, when obtaining the records for a deceased individual, the costs are not limited in the same way and this means that the healthcare provider will be entitled to charge you for copying on a per sheet basis, as well as any administration charges associated with provision of the records. For this reason, we would strongly advise that the cost of obtaining the records for a Deceased individual is requested up front, before any copying is done, to ensure that it is not prohibitively expensive.
To request copies of medical notes and records, a request should be made in writing.
Any request for GP records should be addressed to the Practice Manager of the Surgery.
In the case of NHS Hospital records, the request should be addressed to the Medical Records Office of the NHS Trust where you have received treatment.
Where treatment has been received privately, then your request should be addressed directly to the Consultant who has treated you, or to the manager of the private hospital where you received treatment.
If records are not provided within the specified time limit, it is possible to make an application to court for an order that the records should be disclosed within a specified time limit and to claim payment of any legal costs associated with the making of the application.
Medical notes and records can be obtained when a person has died under the Access to Health Records Act 1990 by either anyone who is acting as a Personal Representative (Executor, or Administrator of the Estate) in connection with a claim for damages for the benefit of the deceased individual’s estate under the provisions of the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1934.
Access to a deceased individual’s medical notes and records can also be requested by anyone who has a right to pursue a claim in their own right under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976, for example a surviving spouse, the parents of a child who has passed away under the age of 18, or anyone else who was financially dependent upon the Deceased.
The cost of obtaining the medical records for a deceased individual is not limited (as it is in the case of records for someone who is alive), so you should make sure to request details of the charges before any copying is done.
When investigating a claim for medical negligence, one of the first things we will do is to request copies of all medical notes and records which may be relevant to your claim, meaning that we will draft the formal request for records and make sure that they are provided within the specified time; and will make the necessary application to court if the records are not provided in accordance with the provisions of the law.
We also have funding options available which mean that we would cover the cost of obtaining these records, rather than you having to pay for them yourself.
McKeag & Co Solicitors, 1-3 Lansdowne Terrace, Gosforth, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE3 1HN
Tel: 0191 213 1010
24 Hour Emergency Line: 07850 565543 (Crime only)