The Department of Health has issued guidance covering requests for access to health records of both living and deceased patients. The guidance considers the provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA), the Access to Health Records Act 1990 (AHRA), the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) and the Access to Medical Reports Act 1988 (AMRA).

The guidance includes consideration of the following:

  • the requirement of a valid request;
  • the need to record the request;
  • applicable fees;
  • the appropriate health professionals to consult when considering a request for access;
  • situations where access can be denied or limited;
  • requests from patients living abroad;
  • parental requests for access to children’s records;
  • how to deal with release of the records;
  • dealing with requests for viewing of the records; and
  • amendment to health records.

The guidance includes model consent forms as well as a useful question and answer section.

The guidance can be accessed here