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HomeHealth LawRequesting Medical Information after a demise | Medical Negligence and Private Damage...

Requesting Medical Information after a demise | Medical Negligence and Private Damage Weblog

Dropping a cherished one while you assume it might be as a result of they acquired poor medical care is extremely anxious at a time when household and mates are grieving their loss.  Typically, folks wish to see a written document of the ultimate days of their cherished one and what occurred to them, or they may wish to undergo years of data to establish whether or not there was a prognosis that will have been missed, comparable to most cancers.

The regulation referring to the disclosure of a deceased individual’s medical data are different to the final guidelines about launch of medical data.  It may be a complicated course of to navigate as a result of the Basic Information Safety Regulation (GDPR) which supplies automated entry to your personal data, doesn’t apply when making an attempt to entry the data of somebody who has died.  Additionally, the Information Safety Act solely applies to residing people.  That mentioned, the duty to respect a affected person’s confidentiality extends past demise.

Who can request medical data after a demise?

Solely sure folks have the precise to entry the medical data of somebody who has died and that is coated by the Entry to Well being Information Act 1990.  This Act permits disclosure of medical data to:

  1. The Private Consultant of the one that has died.  If the deceased individual has a Will, the Private Consultant is named the Executor of the Property.  If there is no such thing as a Will, the Private Consultant is named the Administrator.
  2. Anybody who could have a declare ensuing from the individual’s demise.  This implies the consultant of the deceased’s Property (the Executor or the Administrator), or the ‘dependants’ of the deceased. There are strict standards as to who is taken into account a dependant; very typically, this consists of spouses, civil companions, kids, mother and father and folks residing in the identical family for at the very least 2 years earlier than the demise and instantly earlier than the demise as husband/spouse/civil companion.  People falling into this class could also be entitled to convey a civil declare arising from the circumstances of the deceased’s demise by the use of the Regulation Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1934 or the Deadly Accidents Act 1976.

Offering Proof

You will want to offer proof that you simply fall inside certainly one of these classes.  That is pretty easy in case you are the consultant of the Property as summarised in class (1) above.  The Private Consultant can present a duplicate of the Grant of Probate (in case you are the Executor), or a duplicate of the Grant of Letters of Administration (in case you are the Administrator).  You don’t want to offer any purpose for requesting the data.

The state of affairs turns into extra difficult in case you are not the Private Consultant, however imagine you’ll have a declare ensuing from the individual’s demise.  For instance, an individual could die, leaving a partner and kids.  Nonetheless, the deceased could have chosen to call another person as Executor (for instance, his brother).  In sensible phrases, the simplest technique to acquire the data is all the time for the Private Consultant to request them.  Issues can come up when the Private Consultant doesn’t wish to convey a declare for the Property as a result of they might not want to be concerned in a authorized course of comparable to a medical negligence declare and due to this fact refuse to request the data.

If somebody apart from the Private Consultant feels they’re entitled to convey a declare they might want to present proof of their relationship with the deceased.  They may even have to say why they need the data.  It’s often not sufficient to say you’re nervous about some side of the medical care and remedy otherwise you wish to write a letter of grievance and wish the data to take action.  You will want to set out particular issues concerning the healthcare the deceased acquired that has led you to contemplate a declare for medical negligence.  Such a declare should be introduced inside sure cut-off dates.  Should you really feel you do have a declare and entry to data is proving troublesome or taking a really very long time, you need to communicate to our specialist medical negligence crew.

What occurs in case you are not a Private Consultant and are usually not contemplating a declare?

If you don’t fall underneath the classes of individuals entitled to request the data then entry to a deceased individual’s data is set on a case-by-case foundation.  The individual requesting the data would wish to write down to the hospital or GP demonstrating that:

  • They’ve a legitimate purpose for requesting the data;
  • They’ve a legit relationship to the deceased;
  • Entry to the data is within the public curiosity.

A GP or hospital will take account of the desires of the deceased individual previous to demise, the views of the surviving household, any misery the discharge of this info could trigger to a residing individual and any lack of privateness that will affect the status of the deceased.

Who do you have to write to?

To request GP data, you need to write to the Follow Supervisor on the deceased’s GP surgical procedure.  When an individual has died, the GP surgical procedure usually now not retailer the data and the data are despatched to Major Care Assist England.  The Follow Supervisor will be capable of inform you the place they’ve been saved.

To request NHS hospital data, apply to the Entry to Medical Information Group on the Hospital the deceased individual attended.  The Hospital may have info on their web site that gives the exact tackle particulars, so it’s price checking as a result of the data could also be saved with one other hospital inside the identical Belief.  Should you can’t find this info it may be price making a name to the Hospital’s Entry to Medical Information Group to make sure you are writing to the right division and tackle.

To request hospital data relating to personal remedy, write to the personal hospital concerned, naming the physician who offered your care and ship the request to the Medical Information Supervisor/Entry to Well being Information Group.

What is supposed by the time period ‘well being data’ and the kind of data that may be disclosed?

The Entry to Well being Information Act 1990 defines a well being document as being a document which “consists of data referring to the bodily or psychological well being of a person who might be recognized from that info, or from that and different info within the possession of the holder of the document; and has been made by or on behalf of a well being skilled in reference to the care of that particular person.”  

The time period ‘well being skilled’ has the identical which means as that utilized to the time period inside the Information Safety Act 2018.  This implies well being data made by the next people are coated by the Entry to Well being Information Act 1990 –

  • Registered medical practitioner
  • Registered nurse or midwife
  • Registered dentist
  • Registered allotting optician or a registered optometrist
  • Registered osteopath
  • Registered chiropractor
  • Individual registered as a member of a career to which the Well being and Social Work Professions Order applies
  • Registered pharmacist
  • Little one psychotherapist
  • A scientist employed by a well being service physique as head of a division

Limits to Disclosure

Pursuant to the Entry to Well being Information Act 1990 entry is not going to be given to any a part of a well being document which: 

  1. Within the opinion of the holder of the document, would disclose (a) info prone to trigger severe hurt to the bodily or psychological well being of any particular person, or (b) info referring to or offered by a person, apart from the affected person or a healthcare skilled, who could possibly be recognized from that info;
  2. Was created earlier than the graduation of the Act on 1 November 1991, and
  3. Is the topic of a be aware, made on the affected person’s request, that he/she didn’t want entry to be given on such an utility.  Such a request may relate to data previous to a particular date or data referring to a particular concern.

If a part of a well being document falls into class (1) the data are prone to be disclosed in a redacted format.  If class (2) and (3) are relevant then data might be withheld. 

Time Limits

If the data have been up to date in the course of the 40 days earlier than the date of your utility, you ought to be given entry inside 21 days.  If the data have been up to date greater than 40 days earlier than the date of your utility, you need to obtain the data inside 40 days.


Following the implementation of GDPR, the Entry to Well being Information Act 1990 was amended in order that the data of a deceased individual should be offered freed from cost.


If you need any additional info or recommendation concerning the matter mentioned on this weblog, please contact Richard Lodge or our Medical Negligence and Private Damage crew.



Richard Lodge is a Accomplice within the Medical Negligence and Private Damage follow and has been recognised inside the subject of medical/medical negligence inside the Chambers UK and Authorized 500 directories.  He’s an individually ranked lawyer for medical negligence inside Chambers UK, A Shopper’s Information to the UK Authorized Occupation.





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