Can I access the medical records (health records) of someone who has died?

If you want to view the health records of a deceased person, under the Access to Health Records Act (1990) you can apply in writing to the record holder.

Under the terms of the Access to Health Records Act (1990), you will only be able to access the deceased’s health records if you are either:

  • a personal representative
  • an executor
  • or someone who has a claim resulting from the death (this could be a relative or another person)

Applying for access to a deceased person’s health records

After a person has died, their GP health records will be passed to their NHS England Local Area Team so that they can be stored. To access their GP records, apply to the records manager at the relevant Area Team. The deceased person’s GP can tell you which Area Team to contact.

GP records are generally retained for 10 years after the patient death before destruction.

For hospital records, the record holder is the records manager at the hospital the person attended.

Fees may apply for accessing these records. 

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Further information:

Page last reviewed: 20/11/2013

Next review due: 19/11/2015