Request access to healthcare records

Access to healthcare recordsGuide and Application Form

This leaflet explains the procedure for requesting Access to a Patient’s Hospital Records.If you require clarification of anything, or need further information please let us know. Our contact details can be found at the end.


Access To Patient Records Procedure

Data Protection Act

Procedure for Accessing Healthcare Records.

  • Access to Records applications are logged upon on receipt of a completed application form, email or letter
  • A request is made to the areas that hold the relevant records. (There may be a delay if the patient is currently undergoing treatment).
  • Once all the required records have been gathered they will be sent to each treating clinician for authorisation to release.

An appointment is arranged for the applicant to view the original records.


The requested copy records are sent out, via Special delivery unless otherwise specified.

Under GDPR, the Trust must provide all request documentation within 21 working days of receipt of a valid request, if the request is complex an extension of a further 2 months can be applied, you will be informed within 30 days

  • If for any reason we are unable to meet this deadline, the applicant will be informed.

The Trust may refuse to release patient records if the following applies:

  • Disclosure is likely to cause serious harm to the physical and/or mental wellbeing of the patient or any other individual connected with that patient.
  • The patient is deemed incapable of understanding the nature of the application.
  • The patient is under 13 years of age and is deemed not in their best interest to have access to their records.
  • A third party has applied for access to a patients records and the patient themselves has clearly stated that they do not wish any disclosure of their records.
  • The medical records were created prior to the 1st of November 1991 (Except when it helps to explain a record made on or after this date).
  • The medical records contain any information showing that the person was or may have been born following treatment defined in the Human Fertilisation & Embryology Act 1990.

To access records pertaining to a patient currently being treated by the Northern Devon Healthcare Trust:

  • You can view a current patient’s records, provided the clinician treating the patient has been informed and has given consent (subject to the exclusions listed in this document).
  • An immediate review of a patient’s record may not always be possible, but the department will endeavour to make an appointment convenient to all parties as soon as possible.

Access to Child’s Healthcare Records.

  • If the patient is under the age of 13 and the Trust agrees that disclosure would not be detrimental to the physical and/or mental wellbeing of the patient access may be granted to a parent or guardian.
  • Dependent on age and/or understanding the Child, they may be asked whether they agree to the release of their records.

Note: The Trust may contact both parents/guardians if a request is made.

Access to a Deceased Persons Healthcare Records.

  • Requests for deceased person are covered under the Access to Medical records Act 1990 and an administration fee may apply if the request is excessively unfounded
  • The request has to be relevant to their claim
  • Access to deceased a patient’s records may be granted if written consent was obtained from the patient before death, or if the applicant has been named in the patient’s records as a next of kin or named executor of the estate.
  • For deceased patients where no written consent is available access to records may only be granted to an authorised third party.

Note: If the Trust is unsure as to the identity of the person seeking access, the named next of kin (as retained in the case notes) will be contacted to verify the validity of any such request.

  • The Northern Devon Healthcare Trust reserve the right to request proof of the applicant’s right to Access the notes of a deceased person.

Under GDPR, the Trust must provide the copy of the information free of charge

  • A reasonable fee may be charged when the request is manifestly unfounded or excessive particularly if it is repetitive
  • A reasonable fee may also be charged to comply with requests for further copies of the same information

If you feel an Access Request has been unfairly denied or you wish to make a compliant with regards to the contents of your Records?

  • You may contact the Healthcare Records Manager in writing, detailing the records you wish to have amended and your letter will then be placed on file within the written records.
  • Or if you remain dissatisfied with the quality/availability of the requested patient records, you may contact the Northern Devon Healthcare Trusts Complaints Office on (01271) 314090 for further advice.

For any further information please contact:

The Access to Records Team

Access to Records
Healthcare Records,
North Devon District Hospital
Raleigh Park
EX31 4JB

Last updated: January 20, 2021