Getting hold of personal medical records from West Sussex hospitals

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Summary of report content

Healthwatch West Sussex asked one of their Authorised Representatives to carry out an online investigation into the experiences in trying to get copies of medical records from hospital Trusts. Access to the records is free, and healthcare professionals have a legal requirement to allow patients to see them.

The main website for each of the hospitals was searched for ‘obtaining medical records’, then again for ‘patient records, and finally ‘Subject Access Request’. It is reported that there were two instances where information was not available, from Queen Victoria Hospital and from Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. It was not too difficult to get the information for other hospitals/Trusts, although it was noticeable how different the procedures were.

The report recommends for both the hospitals to quickly review their website information and make it easy for people to obtain their medical records without delay; all Trusts to review their information for clarity on required documents related to proof of identity, response times and procedures to follow when no response is received, on requesting copies, remove any question referring to use of requested information to claim against the hospital and provide all leaflets and forms in both Word and PDF formats on their websites. The report specifically requested Western Sussex NHS Foundation Trust to review the Subject Access Form for ease of using.

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General details

Report title 
Getting hold of personal medical records from West Sussex hospitals
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch West Sussex
Date of publication 
Wednesday, 1 May, 2019
Date evidence capture began 
Thursday, 23 May, 2019
Date evidence capture finished 
Thursday, 23 May, 2019
Type of report 
Key themes 
Information providing
Patient records
Healthwatch reference number 

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
If this work has been done in partnership, who is the partner? 
Primary research method used 
How was the information collected? 
Website Feedback

Details of health and care services included in the report

Secondary care services 

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
Age group 
Sexual orientation 
Not known
Does the information include public's views? 
Does the information include carer's, friend's or relative's views? 
Does the information include staff's views? 
Does the information include other people's views? 
What was the main sentiment of the people who shared their views? 

Outcomes and impact

Were recommendations made by local Healthwatch in the report? 
Does the information contain a response from a provider? 
Is there evidence of impact in the report? 
Is there evidence of impact external to the report? 

Network Impact
Relationships that exist locally, regionally, nationally have benefited from the work undertaken in the report
Implied Impact
Where it is implied that change may occur in the future as a result of Healthwatch work. This can be implied in a provider  response, press release or other source. Implied impact can become tangible impact once change has occurred.
Tangible Impact
There is evidence of change that can be directly attributed to Healthwatch work undertaken in the report.