Haemophiliac Patients: Access to Medical Records

House of Lords written question – answered on 18th June 2003.

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Photo of Lord Clement-Jones Lord Clement-Jones Liberal Democrat

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What action they are taking to ensure that haemophiliac patients are given full and timely access to their medical records in order to enable them to take legal action against United States companies who have supplied plasma to the National Health Service.

Photo of Lord Warner Lord Warner Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department of Health, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health)

It is the responsibility of individual National Health Service organisations to ensure that they comply with legal requirements when dealing with requests for access to health records. The Data Protection Act 1998 provides individuals with a right of access to their health records. However there are certain circumstances in which the record holder may withhold information.

Access may be denied, or limited, where the information might cause serious harm to the physical or mental health or condition of the patient, or any other person, or where giving access would disclose information relating to or provided by a third person who had not consented to the disclosure. The decision over whether to grant or withhold access must be made by individual record holders. However individuals do have recourse to the NHS complaints procedure if they feel that their application for access has not been dealt with appropriately.

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