Access to medical records

Who else has access to my records?

There is a balance between your privacy and safety and we will share some information about you and with others involved in your care, unless you ask us not to. This could include doctors, medical students, nurses, therapists and technicians involved in the treatment or investigation if your medical condition. Our staff need access to notify the health authority of registration details and perform various filing and administrative tasks on the medical records. All of our doctors, nurses and staff have a legal, ethical and contractual duty to protect your privacy and confidentiality.

Where else do we send Patient Information?

We are required by law to notify the government of various infectious diseases (e.g. meningitis, measles but not AIDS) for public health reasons. The law courts can also insist the GPs disclose medical records to them. Doctors cannot refuse to co-operate with the court without risking serious punishment. We are often asked for medical reports from the Benefits Agency, solicitors or insurance companies. These will always be accompanied by the patient’s signed consent for us to disclose any information unless otherwise stated. We will not normally release details about other people (e.g. wife, children, parents, etc) that are contained in your records unless we also have their consent. Limited information is shared with the health authorities to help them organise national programmes for public health such as childhood immunisations, cervical smear tests and breast screening. GPs must disclose all relevant medical conditions unless you ask us not to do so. In that case, we would have to inform the insurance company that you have instructed us not to make a full disclosure to them. You have the right, should you request it, to see reports to insurance companies or employers before they are sent.

How can I find out what’s in my records?

We are required by law to allow you access to your medical records, if you wish to see them. All requests to view medical records should be made in writing to the surgery. We are allowed by law to charge a fee to cover our administration and costs. We have a duty to keep your medical records accurate and up to date. Please feel free to advise us of any errors of fact which may have crept into your medical records over the years.

What we will not do

To protect your privacy and confidentiality, we will not normally disclose any medical information including results over the telephone unless we are sure we are talking to you. This means we will not disclose information to your family, friends and colleagues about any medical matters at all, unless we have your consent to do so.

How sharing patient data with NHS Digital helps the NHS and you

The NHS needs data about the patients it treats in order to plan and deliver its services and to ensure that care and treatment provided is safe and effective. The General Practice Data for Planning and Research data collection will help the NHS to improve health and care services for everyone by collecting patient data that can be used to do this. For example patient data can help the NHS to:

  • monitor the long-term safety and effectiveness of care
  • plan how to deliver better health and care services
  • prevent the spread of infectious diseases
  • identify new treatments and medicines through health research

GP practices already share patient data for these purposes, but this new data collection will be more efficient and effective.

This means that GPs can get on with looking after their patients, and NHS Digital can provide controlled access to patient data to the NHS and other organisations who need to use it, to improve health and care for everyone.

Contributing to research projects will benefit us all as better and safer treatments are introduced more quickly and effectively without compromising your privacy and confidentiality.

This collection will start from 1 July 2021. Patient data will be collected from GP medical records about:

  • any living patient registered at a GP practice in England when the collection started – this includes children and adults
  • any patient who died after the data collection started, and was previously registered at a GP practice in England when the data collection started

We will not collect your name or where you live. Any other data that could directly identify you, for example NHS number, General Practice Local Patient Number, full postcode and date of birth, is replaced with unique codes which are produced by de-identification software before the data is shared with NHS Digital.

For more information please follow this link:

You can opt-out of sharing this information by completing the following form Type-one-Opt-out-Form type one opt out

Information Sharing

You may be receiving care from other people as well as your GP (eg NHS Hospital Trust, Social Services, private hospitals etc). So that we can all work together for your benefit we may need to share some information about you.

We only ever pass on information about you if it is in your interest with regard to your health. Whenever we can we shall remove details which identify you. The law strictly controls the sharing of some types of very sensitive personal information. Sometimes we may have to share information with the Department of Health when giving certain vaccinations. If you do not want us to share this information please inform us and your notes will be marked accordingly. Your personal details will not be used for research purposes unless you have been informed beforehand and given your consent for us to do so.

In order to assure the quality of the care and training we provide our clinical records are sometimes inspected by outside visitors. The visitors must make undertakings to keep your records confidential before we will allow them to see them. You can refuse to participate in these inspections by informing the reception staff appropriately.

We can arrange that your name does not appear on the LED in the waiting room when the doctor calls you into surgery if you wish. You can be called by using your NHS number. Please inform a member of staff that this is your preference and ask them to let you know your NHS number. Equally if you have difficulty in seeing the display please inform a member of staff and you will be called when your appointment is due.


Date published: 10th October, 2014
Date last updated: 16th June, 2021