What are the fees for accessing medical records (health records)?

Online access to your GP records is free of charge.

However, charges may apply if you wish to see the originals or get physical copies or your health records.

The Data Protection Act (DPA) covers personal information, including health records. It gives you the right to see your records by requesting a permanent copy, also known as a subject access request (SAR). More details about this can be found on the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) website.

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

By law, you're entitled to receive a response no later than 40 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. You can also read the ICO's Subject Access code of practice guidance (PDF, 1Mb) for more information. 

What happens?

After you have made your request in writing (this includes email) to the data controller at the NHS organisation where your records are held  for example, the hospital that treated you, or your GP surgery  you will 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 way you can understand. This means that abbreviations and complicated medical terms should be explained. If you still don’t understand any part of the record, the health professional who is holding the record should explain it to you.

Health records of someone who has died 

If you want to view the health records of a deceased person, you can apply in writing to the record holder under the Access to Health Records Act (1990). For more information, see Can I access the medical records (health records) of someone who has died?

Read the answers to more questions about NHS services and treatments.

Further information:

Page last reviewed: 14/12/2015

Next review due: 14/12/2017