What are health records?
The Data Protection Act covers personal information including health records.
A health record is any record of information relating to someone's physical or mental health that has been made by (or on behalf of) a health professional. This could be anything from the notes made by a GP in your local surgery to results of an MRI scan or X-rays.
Health records are extremely personal and sensitive. They can be held electronically or as paper files, and are kept by a range of different health professionals both in the NHS and the private sector.
For the purpose of the Data Protection Act, a registered health professional can be one of the following people:
- A medical practitioner - this could be a GP, consultant or hospital doctor
- A dentist
- An optician
- A pharmaceutical chemist
- A nurse, midwife or health visitor
- An osteopath
- A chiropractor
- A clinical psychologist, child psychotherapist or speech therapist
- A music therapist
- A scientist employed by a health service body as head of department
- Anyone registered as a member of a profession to which the Health Professionals Order 2001
How can I obtain my records?
The Data Protection Act gives you the right to see your health records by making a subject access request.