Medical Records: Disclosure of Information

Department of Health written question – answered on 24th March 2017.

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Photo of Andrew Gwynne Andrew Gwynne Shadow Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office), Campaigns and Elections Chair

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, who within his Department is responsible for monitoring and enforcing the Access to Health Records Act 1990.

Photo of Andrew Gwynne Andrew Gwynne Shadow Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office), Campaigns and Elections Chair

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, how many instances there have been where (a) an individual and (b) a family have put in a request to access the health records of individuals to whom they are related in accordance with the Health Records Act 1990; and how many of those requests were rejected in the latest period for which figures are available.

Photo of Nicola Blackwood Nicola Blackwood The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health

Requests made under the Access to Health Records Act 1990 are made directly by individuals to the holder of that record. The 1990 Act does not confer any oversight powers or duties on the Secretary of State and no statistics are published or held.

The Department does not therefore hold information on the number of instances there have been where an individual and family have put in a request to access the health records of individuals to whom they are related or how many of those requests were rejected.

The Access to Health Records Act 1990 covers access to deceased patient health records by specified persons.

Most requests for access to medical records are made as subject access requests under the Data Protection Act 1998, which covers the records of living individuals. We are working as part of the Personalised Health And Care 2020 programme to enable more people to access their medical records online.

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