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

If you want to see the health records of someone who has died, you can apply in writing to the record holder under the Access to Health Records Act (1990).

Under the terms of the Act, you will only be able to access the deceased’s health records if you are either:

  • a personal representative (the executor or administrator of the deceased person's estate)
  • 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 Primary Care Support England, so they can be stored. To access their GP records, apply to the records manager in the relevant local area. The deceased person's GP can tell you who to contact, or you can access a list of local services.

GP records are generally retained for 10 years after the patient's death before they are destroyed.

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

Fees may apply for accessing these records. For more information about fees visit GOV.UK.

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

Further information:

Page last reviewed: 21/12/2015

Next review due: 21/12/2017