"Medical notes are confidential"

About: The James Cook University Hospital

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My father was an inpatient on ward 2. During his admission I asked a nurse for my fathers medical notes for him to look at. This was refused by the nurse who stated that the notes are confidential and my father could not see them. My father had requested them and as he has COPD he couldn't Walk to the nurses station independently to ask for himself, but authorising myself to ask on his behalf. I thought under the Data Protection Act 1998, a patient had the right to look at his/her own notes. Either James Cook Hospital are making their own rules up or have incompetent staff who don't seem to be familiar with the legal and ethical principles of care.

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Responses

Response from The James Cook University Hospital

Good morning Lilly Thank you for your feedback, regarding the problems your father experienced accessing his healthcare records, during his stay on Ward 2 at The James Cook University Hospital. The Act that currently covers the procedure for patients viewing their own paper health record is the Access to Health Records Act 1990. This gives the right for a patient to view their paper health record or for a person authorised in writing to make the application on the patient’s behalf. When a patient wants to view their record they can do so, free of charge, within 40 days of receiving the episode of care. However, the record must first be examined by a clinician to ensure that any third party information held within the record is removed; this may mean that the patient cannot be given immediate access to their record. A patient's viewing of their health record is facilitated by a member of staff so that any medical terms can be explained. Under the Data Protection Act 1998 a person has a right to a copy of any information held about them and this access is subject to a fee as prescribed by the Act. The Patient Access Department which is part of Legal Services deal with all such requests. I hope this information is helpful. PLease do not hesitate to contact the Patient Advice & Liaison Service (PALS) on 01642 854807, should you wish to discuss this further. Kind regards Mrs Linda Oliver Patient Experience Co-ordinator

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