How can you access your medical records?

Find out how you can see what information is held about you under current legislation.

People have a right to see information held about them, under the Data Protection Act (1998) and Access to Health Records Act (1990). You do this by making what is called a ‘Subject Access Request’.

You can request to view your medical records for free in the presence of a designated NHS employee at the place where they are held, or you can request copies of your records to take away for a cost of up to £50.

NHS organisations must make records available within 40 days of your request (and any payment being made), and ideally within 21 days. Organisations can deny you access if they feel that disclosure would be ‘likely to cause serious harm to the physical of mental health or condition’ of you or another person.

Health records are normally kept for only eight years after a person has died. There are rules about who can see the records of a deceased person and you could have to provide proof, such as being an executor of the deceased person’s estate.

If you think something in your records is wrong you can ask for an explanation, addition or note to be made on your records.

Some NHS organisations will agree to an informal verbal request to see your records, but most usually ask you to complete a Subject Access Request form. You have to approach the NHS organisation that holds the information you are interested in – whether your GP, hospital, dentist, optician, or other type of healthcare provider.

Medical records departments in Reading

Larger NHS organisations have dedicated medical records departments . Click on the links below for details.

Royal Berkshire Hospital

Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

For medical records held by your GP or dentist, ask the manager of the surgery or practice, how to make the request. 

If you need help to make a request, because of illness, disability, or language issues, or you want advice about a denied request, phone our helpline:

0118 937 2295