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Your health and care records

How can I access my health records?

If you want to view your medical records, you may not need to make a formal application. Nothing in the law prevents healthcare professionals from informally showing you your own records. You can make an informal request during a consultation, or by phoning the surgery or hospital to arrange a time to see your records.

How to access your GP record

Some GPs have given online access to their patients’ GP records for some time. From April 2015 all GPs should give their patients online access to summary information in their records. This is part of the drive to provide more GP online services to patients. It should give you more control of your health and well-being, especially if you are managing a condition that needs regular monitoring and frequent prescriptions.

If you wish, you can also request for someone else to have access to your GP record, please contact your practice who will be able to advise you on the best way to go about this.

The NHS is committed to modernising its services so that they are as efficient and effective as possible and put patients in the driving seat of their care. The ambition is that by 2018 every citizen will be able to access their full health records at the click of a button, detailing every visit to the GP and hospital, every prescription, test results, and adverse reactions and allergies.

Offering people the chance to book appointments, order repeat prescriptions and access summary information held in their GP records online is a key milestone on the road towards becoming a truly modern and dynamic healthcare system which is responsive to what patients want.


For more detailed information about the patient online services download the Patient Online FAQ leaflet (PDF, 176kb). Alternatively, look up your local GP on this site and find out what online services the practice provides or read more about GP online booking systems including how to register for it.

How to access your Summary Care Record

If you wish to view your SCR you’ll need to speak with your GP. Unlike GP records you’ll not be able to access them online by yourself. Find out more about Summary Care Records.

How to access other people's records

If you want to view medical records held by other NHS services you need to make a formal request under the Data Protection Act (1998) and apply in writing to the holder(s) of the records. For example, if you can’t access your GP records online and wish to see a paper version, write to your GP or the practice manager. If you want to see your hospital records, write to the hospital’s patient’s services manager or medical records officer.

To access someone else’s health records, you must:

  • be acting on their behalf with their consent, or
  • have legal authority to make decisions on their behalf (power of attorney), or
  • have another legal basis for access

More detailed information is provided in the article: Can I access someone else’s medical records?

Under Access to Health Records Act (1990) you can make a request to view the records of a deceased person. You can find detailed guidance on how submit your request on the GOV.UK website

How can I get information in my records changed?

If you think that information in your health records is incorrect or your need to update your personal details (name, address, phone number), approach the relevant health professional informally and ask to have the record amended. Some hospitals and GP surgeries have online forms for updating your details. If this doesn't work, you can formally request that the information be amended under the NHS complaints procedure.

All NHS trusts, NHS England, CCGs, GPs, dentists, opticians and pharmacists have a complaints procedure. If you want to make a complaint, go to the organisation concerned and ask for a copy of their complaints procedure.

Alternatively, you can complain to the Information Commissioner (the person responsible for regulating and enforcing the Data Protection Act), at:

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO)
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Telephone: 01625 545745

If your request to have your records amended is refused, the record holder must attach a statement of your views to the record.


Do I have to pay to access my health records?

Online access to your GP records is free of charge.

The Data Protection Act gives you the right to see your health records by making a subject access request (SAR). No fee is charged to see your records but if you wish to take a copy away you may be charged. The charge will vary, depending on how the information is stored. The maximum charges are:

  • £10 for records that are only held electronically
  • up to £50 for those records that are not available in electronic form or only partially available electronic form

For more detailed information about how to submit your SAR visit the GOV.UK website.

By law, you're entitled to receive a response no later than 40 calendar days after your application is received, your identity is checked and any relevant fee has been paid. You will then receive an appointment to see your records.

If you have asked to see a copy of your records, they should be written out in a form that you can understand. This means that abbreviations and complicated medical terms should be explained. If you still do not understand any part of the record, the health professional who is holding the record should explain it to you.

On the ICO's website you can find advice about how to request your personal information or download the Subject Access code of practice guidance (PDF, 1Mb).

I'm living abroad. How can I access my UK health records?

If you have permanently left the UK, your GP health records will be sent to your NHS England Local Area Team and your hospital records will either be stored at the hospital you attended or sent to a local archive. Following treatment, hospital records are kept for a minimum of eight years and GP records for a minimum of 10 years.

Under the Data Protection Act (1998), you have the right to apply for access to, or copies of, your UK health records, even if you have moved abroad. Apply in writing to the record holder(s).

Also see the section about how long well my records be kept for?

Page last reviewed: 07/04/2015

Next review due: 07/04/2017

Accessing someone else’s medical records

Find out under what circumstances you may be allowed to access someone else’s medical records

Accessing the records of a deceased person

Find out how to request access to the medical records of someone who has died

Keeping your online health and social care records safe and secure

Guidance is available to help you understand what an electronic health and care record is, how you can access it, who you may want to share it with and how to perform these actions securely. This guidance was created by the Department of Health, working in collaboration with BCS, the Chartered Institute of IT, in 2013.

Download the patient guidance booklets:

Get online: take control of your health

Find out how you can improve your health and wellbeing by learning a few simple online skills