Subject Access Request (SAR)

Health data relating to any individual is highly confidential and the Practice must ensure that it releases such data only to the person to whom it relates, or to a person authorised to act on his/her behalf.  You can make a request in writing to see all or parts of your medical records.

The General Data Protection Regulation gives you the statutory right of access to any information, manual (paper) or computerised. You may wish to authorise someone else to make your application on your behalf. If you have parental responsibilities, you may make an application to see your child’s notes.

You do not have to give a reason for applying for access to your General Practice records. If you do not need access to your entire records, it would be helpful if you would inform us of the periods and parts of your health records that you require, along with details which you may feel have relevance (e.g. Clinical type, location, dates etc.)


The Practice will deal with your request as quickly as possible. The information should be available to you with in 1 month of receipt of your request. Under certain circumstances, this period can be extended to 3 months, but we will keep you informed of the progress of your request during this extended period.


We will not make a charge for the first request for access to your medical records, this includes copies requested on your behalf from the 3rd party i.e. solicitors, insurance company etc. We will charge for subsequent requests, if we deem that the volume of information requested is excessive or if extracting the information takes an excessive amount of effort. You also have the right to simply view your records (i.e. not receive a copy in a permanent form).

Type of Request

If you request to see the original records, you will be invited to make an appointment at a mutually convenient time to view them.  If you request copies, these will be ready within the allocated timescales specified by the regulation, and you will be telephoned to come to the Practice to collect them.


Requests may be received from following:

  • Competent patients may apply for access to their own records or authorise 3rd party access to their records.
  • Children and young people – If the child is capable of understanding the nature of the application, his/her consent should be obtained or, alternately, the child may submit an application on their own behalf. Children will, generally, be presumed to understand the nature of the application if aged between 12 and 16.  All cases will be considered individually.
  • Parents – If you are making the request on behalf of another person, the Practice will require the patient’s authorisation before we can release the data to you.  The person whose information is being requested should provide written consent. If the patient is a child (i.e. under 16 years of age) the application may be made by someone with parental responsibility – in most cases this means a parent or guardian.
  • Individuals with a responsibility for adults who lack capacity are not automatically entitled to access the individual’s health records. Plumbridge Medical Centre will ensure that the patient’s capacity is judged in relation to the particular application being made. Any consideration to nominate an authorised individual to make proxy decisions for an individual who lacks capacity must comply with the Mental Capacity Act in England.
  • Next of Kin – Despite the widespread use of the phrase ‘next of kin’, this is not defined, nor does it have formal legal status. A next of kin cannot give or withhold their consent to the sharing of information on a patient’s behalf. As next of kin they have no rights of access to medical records. For parental rights of access, see the information under ‘proof of identity’.
  • Police are not able to access health records without first obtaining a court order or warrant. However, health professionals at Plumbridge Medical Centre may disclose relevant information to the police if the patient has consented or if there is overriding public interest.
  • Solicitors and insurance companies in most cases will provide the patient’s signed consent to release information held in their health record. The SAR process will then be followed as usual. If the signed consent is missing, the Practice will not release any data information until this is received and may further delay the request.
  • Power of Attorney

Your health records are confidential, and members of your family are not allowed to see them, unless you have given them written permission, or they have power of attorney.

A lasting power of attorney is a legal document that allows you to appoint someone to make decisions for you, should you become incapable of making decision yourself.

The person you appoint is known as your attorney.  An attorney can make decisions about our finances, property, and welfare. It is very important that you trust the person you appoint, so that they do not abuse their responsibility. A legal power of attorney must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian before it can be used.

If you wish to see the health records of someone who has died, you will have to apply under the Access to Medical Records Act 1990. You can only apply if you:

  • are that person’s next of kin, are their legal executor (the person named in a will who is in charge of dealing with the property and finances of the deceased person).
  • have the permission of the next of kin or have obtained written permission from the deceased person before they died.
  • To access the records of a deceased person, you must go through the same process as a living patient. This means either contacting the Practice or the Hospital where the records are stored.

Proof of Identity

Two forms of identity must be provided (one of which must be photographic). This is to ensure no information is released to unauthorised individuals. The table below outlines the proof of identity required.

Patient applying for their own Can be waived if the applicant is known to the Staff Member accepting the request  One which must be photographic i.e. passport. One containing individuals name and address.
Third Party Applying.  Written consent of the Patient will be required BEFORE the request will be processed.  One containing Third Party name and address One must be Photographic ID of Third Party.
Applying on behalf of a child We will ALWAYS obtain consent for release of records from a child age 12+ to <16 if a third party is making request.  One which must be Child’s birth certificate, Photographic ID of person with parental rights.

Please complete the request form by downloading the form below, completing it and handing it into the practice


Deceased Records

The law allows you to see records of a patient that has died as long as they were made after 1st November 1991.

Records are usually only kept for three years after death, (in England and Wales GP records are generally retained for 10 years after the patient’s death, and then they are destroyed).

Who can access deceased records?

You can only see that person’s records if you are their personal representative, administrator or executor.

You will not be able to see the records of someone who made it clear that they did not want other people to see their records after their death.

Accessing deceased records

Before you get access to these records, you may be asked for:

  • Proof of your identity
  • Proof of your relationship to the person who has died

Viewing deceased records

You will not be able to see information that could:

  • Cause serious harm to your or someone else’s physical or mental health
  • Identify another person (except members of NHS staff who have treated the patient), unless that person gives their permission.
  • If you have a claim as a result of that person’s death, you can only see information that is relevant to the claim.

Please complete the request form by downloading the form below, completing it and handing it into the practice


Hospital records

To see your Hospital records, you will have to contact your local Hospital.


Having a robust system in place will ensure that access to health records is given only to authorised personnel.  Patient confidentiality is of the utmost importance and any 3rd party requests must be accompanied by a valid patient signature.  Staff will adhere to this guidance at all times and where doubt exists, they will discuss their concerns with the Caldicott Guardian in the Practice.

Further guide to the general data protection can be found here.

Other links:

How to get your medical records

Access to health records

Good Practice Guidance on ID VerificationEdit