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North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust - 70 years of the NHS

Home > Patients and visitors > Accessing your information

Accessing your information

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) gives you a right of access to your personal records.

1) What records can I see?

  • Health Records - "Information relating to the physical or mental health of an individual which has been made by or on behalf of a health professional in connection with the care of that individual"  
  • If you wish to learn more about your health care, you can discuss this with health service staff during your consultation or treatment, and you can ask to see your health records at that time.  However, in order to benefit from the full provisions of the Data Protection Act, a formal application in writing is necessary.
  • Staff records - If you are a member of North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust staff, you can apply for access to the information held in your staff file.

2) Will there be a charge?

The Trust will not charge for providing you with your copy records.  However, the Trust may charge a fee for any subsequent copies of the same information that you might request from us (the fee will be based on the administrative cost of providing the information)

If a request is manifestly unfounded or excessive (particularly if it is repetitive) the Trust may also charge a fee for providing the information.  

3) How do I apply for access to my records?

Applications must be made in writing, preferably on the Trust's application form (see below).

Please send your completed form (and copy of identification documents) to either of  the following addresses:

Cumberland Infirmary
Subject Access Coordinator Office
Maglona House,
Kingstown Broadway,
Carlisle,
CA3 0HA
email:SACCIC@ncuh.nhs.uk

West Cumberland Hospital
Subject Access Coordinator Office
West Cumberland Hospital
Hensingham
Whitehaven
CA28 8JG
email: SACWCH@ncuh.nhs.uk

4) Who has the right of access?

a) A patient or member of staff.

b) A person authorised in writing to apply on behalf of the patient
c) A person having parental responsibility for a patient who is a child: however please note that for any application for access to a child's or young person's health record, the Trust is obliged to consider the following:

  • where possible, the child's level of maturity and their ability to make decisions with regard to access
  • the nature of the personal data
  • any court orders relating to parental access or responsibility that may apply
  • any duty of confidence owed to the child or young person
  • any consequences of allowing those with parental responsibility access to the child's or young person's information
  • any detriment to the child or young person if individuals with parental responsibility cannot access this information
  • any views the child or young person has on whether their parents should have access to information about them
d) Any person appointed by the Courts to manage the affairs of a patient who is deemed to be incapable

e) Where a patient has died, the patient's personal representative (usually the executor of the will, or person granted probate or administration), or any person having a claim arising from the patient's death.  Please see Appendix A below for further details.

5) Can access be denied to me?

There are sections in GDPR which state that under certain conditions access can be refused.  Instances where access can be denied are:

  • Where the holder of the records is not supplied with such information to satisfy themselves as to the identity of the applicant and locate the information requested
  • Where the patient has died and the record includes a note made at the patient's request that they did not wish access to be given to their personal representative or to any person having a claim arising from the patient's death
  • Where in the opinion of the record holder, the information may cause serious harm to the physical or mental health of the patient or other individual
  • Where information is provided by a third party, who would be identified from that information

6) Confidentiality and Identity Verification

The Trust takes positive action to maintain the confidentiality of patient and staff personal information.  Holders of records are obliged by law to be satisfied that an applicant is entitled to access the requested records; therefore we will require proof of identity from you before we process your application.

You must provide copies two types of identification.  These may be:

  • Birth certificate
  • Passport
  • Driving Licence
  • Medical Card

In addition, proof of address must be provided; for example bank statement, utility bill or tax certificate.

Originals should be produced when collecting your information.  If you wish to have information sent out to you, photocopies of identification information may be sent to the Trust, but must be verified by a 'person of standing', for example your employer, a medical professional or your GP.

7) How long does it take?

The Trust will deal with your request promptly, and in any event the records will be sent to you with 30 days of receipt of of your accurately completed form.  If we encounter any difficulties in locating your data we will keep you informed of our progress.

 

8) What if I do not agree with what is written in the records?


Records which contain factual inaccuracies may be corrected after discussion with the appropriate health professional.  This does not apply to matters of opinion which may be written in the course of your treatment.  No fee will be charged for any correction.  Please contact the Information Governance Department in the first instance if you have a query: (information.governance@cumbria.nhs.uk)

9) Complaints

If you wish to complain about any aspect of the manner in which your access to request was handled, you should submit your complaint in writing to:
  • The Chief Executive, Cumberland Infirmary, Newtown Road, Carlisle CA2 7HY

Your complaint will be dealt with through the NHS Complaints Procedure.  

If you are still not satisfied with the response you receive, you may refer your complaint to an Independent arbiter such as the Health Service Commissioner or the Information Commissioner (email mail@ico.gsi.gov.uk)

Transgender and Power of Attorney

Transgender patient requiring information on their rights regards their casenotes - information available here

Patients/carers the address to send the documentation for living wills etc - information available here

Other Guidance

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has produced lealfets and guidance for members of the public which are available on their website at this link: https://ico.org.uk/

Please see in addition "your data matters: a toolkit for individuals" which provides helpful advice on how to look after your personal data and answers some common questions about the use of your personal information:

https://ico.org.uk/media/2259552/your-data-matters-toolkit-booklet.pdf

Appendix A: Accessing Deceased Patient Records

The current legal position is that confidentiality obligations owed by health professionals to patients continue after death.

 A patient’s family members do not in themselves have any rights of access to their deceased relative’s health records. Access to a deceased patient’s record is limited to particular individuals defined by statute: ‘These individuals are defined under Section 3(10(f) of [the Access to Health Records Act 1990 (AHRA)] …as ‘the patient’s personal representative and any person who may have a claim arising out of the patient’s death’. 

A personal representative is the executor or administrator of the deceased person’s estate. The personal representative is the only person who has an unqualified right of access to a deceased patient’s record and need give no reason for applying for access to a record. 

Any individual other than the personal representative has a legal right of access under the Act only where they can establish a claim arising from a patient’s death.’[1] In order to access patient records under AHRA, the following must be provided with the application form:

  • evidence that the applicant is the executor or administrator of the deceased person’s estate; or
  • grant of representation / court probate; or
  • proof that the applicant is establishing a claim arising from the patient’s death.
Grant of representation This is a general term which includes grants of probate and grants of letters of administration: http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Governmentcitizensandrights/Death/Preparation/DG_10029799 

Court probate: Probate is the court’s authority given to a person or persons to administer a deceased person’s estate. The document issued by the Probate Service is called a Grant of Representation: http://www.justice.gov.uk/guidance/courts-and-tribunals/courts/probate/index.htm [1] Department of Health, ‘Guidance for Access to Health Records Request’ February 2010 page 14

Please also see the Trust's leaflet (requesting medical records after a death)