Confidentiality and Access to Records

Your information and confidentiality

Everyone working for the NHS has a legal duty to keep information about you confidential.

We adhere to high standards of confidentiality as laid down by the Data Protection Act 1998, the Caldicott Principles and the Health and Social Care Act 2001.

You may be receiving care from other organisations as well as the NHS (for example Social Services), we may need to share some information about you so we can all work together for your benefit. We only ever pass on your information if others involved have a genuine need for it. We will not disclose your information to third parties without your permission unless there are exceptional circumstances, such as when the health or safety of others is at risk or where the law requires information to be passed on.

Anyone who receives information from us is also under a legal duty to keep it confidential

We are required by law to report some information to the appropriate authorities. For example:

  • Infectious diseases which may endanger the safety of others, such as meningitis or measles (but not HIV/AIDS)
  • Where a formal court order has been issued

If you would like to know more, please read the information in our Protecting and Using Patient Information Fact Sheet.

Our guiding principle is that we hold your records in the strictest of confidence.

Access to Medical Records

In accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998, patients have right of access to their health records provided. Application is made in writing (form available from reception). You will be charged a fee.

  • Access only £10.00
  • Access and copies £10.00 up to £50.00 (dependent upon work involved)

Information may be withheld if it could seriously harm your mental or physical health, or identify a third party.

We must ensure that you are entitled to see the records you are asking for. If you are not the patient, we will need identification and proof that you have written consent from the patient or that you have been appointed by a court to act for the patient. Where a patient is incapacitated and unable to give consent, information can only be released if it is in the patient's best interest, the application should therefore be supported by specific details.

Children under 16 who have the capacity and understanding to take decisions about their own treatment are also entitled to view their own health records, providing the are judged by professionals to understand their choices and the potential outcomes of sharing information. Case law has established that such a child is known as 'Gillick Competent'. You can also view the health records of a child for whom you have parental responsibility subject to the approval of the health professional and the agreement of the child if they are deemed competent to understand fully what is proposed.

Access to the record has to be provided within 21 days of a written application from the patient where the record has been made in the last 40 days. Records written more than 40 days before the application must be provided within 40 days. We may charge up to £10 for access to records, or up to £50 if you need copies. If any information has been recorded in the 40 days before your application, access is free of charge, but copies may still be charged for.