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

Shedding a cherished one once you assume it might be as a result of they acquired poor medical care is extremely hectic at a time when household and buddies are grieving their loss.  Usually, individuals wish to see a written file of the ultimate days of their cherished one and what occurred to them, or they may wish to undergo years of information to establish whether or not there was a prognosis that will have been missed, equivalent to most cancers.

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

Who can request medical information after a demise?

Solely sure individuals have the best to entry the medical information of somebody who has died and that is coated by the Entry to Well being Data Act 1990.  This Act permits disclosure of medical information to:

  1. The Private Consultant of the one who has died.  If the deceased particular person has a Will, the Private Consultant is called the Executor of the Property.  If there isn’t any Will, the Private Consultant is called the Administrator.
  2. Anybody who might have a declare ensuing from the particular person’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, dad and mom and folks dwelling in the identical family for not less than 2 years earlier than the demise and instantly earlier than the demise as husband/spouse/civil associate.  People falling into this class could also be entitled to deliver a civil declare arising from the circumstances of the deceased’s demise by the use of the Legislation Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1934 or the Deadly Accidents Act 1976.

Offering Proof

You’ll need to supply proof that you simply fall inside considered 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 supply any purpose for requesting the information.

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

If somebody aside from the Private Consultant feels they’re entitled to deliver a declare they might want to present proof of their relationship with the deceased.  They will even must say why they need the information.  It’s normally not sufficient to say you’re nervous about some facet of the medical care and remedy otherwise you wish to write a letter of grievance and wish the information to take action.  You’ll need to set out particular issues in regards to the healthcare the deceased acquired that has led you to contemplate a declare for medical negligence.  Such a declare should be introduced inside sure closing dates.  Should you really feel you do have a declare and entry to information is proving tough or taking a really very long time, it’s best to converse to our specialist medical negligence group.

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

If you don’t fall underneath the classes of individuals entitled to request the information then entry to a deceased particular person’s information is set on a case-by-case foundation.  The particular person requesting the information would wish to put in writing to the hospital or GP demonstrating that:

  • They’ve a sound purpose for requesting the information;
  • They’ve a reputable relationship to the deceased;
  • Entry to the information is within the public curiosity.

A GP or hospital will take account of the needs of the deceased particular person previous to demise, the views of the surviving household, any misery the discharge of this info might trigger to a dwelling particular person and any lack of privateness that will affect the popularity of the deceased.

Who do you have to write to?

To request GP information, it’s best to write to the Follow Supervisor on the deceased’s GP surgical procedure.  When an individual has died, the GP surgical procedure typically not retailer the information and the information are despatched to Major Care Assist England.  The Follow Supervisor will have the ability to inform you the place they’ve been saved.

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

To request hospital information relating to personal remedy, write to the personal hospital concerned, naming the physician who supplied your care and ship the request to the Medical Data Supervisor/Entry to Well being Data Crew.

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

The Entry to Well being Data Act 1990 defines a well being file as being a file 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 file; 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 Knowledge Safety Act 2018.  This implies well being information made by the next people are coated by the Entry to Well being Data 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
  • Baby 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 Data Act 1990 entry won’t be given to any a part of a well being file which: 

  1. Within the opinion of the holder of the file, would disclose (a) info prone to trigger critical hurt to the bodily or psychological well being of any particular person, or (b) info referring to or supplied by a person, aside from the affected person or a healthcare skilled, who may very well 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 software.  Such a request might relate to information previous to a particular date or information referring to a particular situation.

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

Time Limits

If the information had been up to date throughout the 40 days earlier than the date of your software, try to be given entry inside 21 days.  If the information had been up to date greater than 40 days earlier than the date of your software, it’s best to obtain the information inside 40 days.


Following the implementation of GDPR, the Entry to Well being Data Act 1990 was amended in order that the information of a deceased particular person should be supplied freed from cost.


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



Richard Lodge is a Associate within the Medical Negligence and Private Damage apply and has been recognised inside the discipline 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 Consumer’s Information to the UK Authorized Career.





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