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.