Application form for access to health records

Annex A – Access to a deceased patient’s health record information and form

Part A: Information

At St Clements Surgery, we appreciate that this is likely to be a distressing time for you and we wish to make the application process to access the health record as stress free as possible.

It is requested that you please complete the relevant sections of this form to enable us to facilitate your request.

Rights of access

Requests for access to health records of patients who are deceased are dealt with through the Access to Health Records Act 1990 (AHRA). There are certain individuals who have rights of access to the health records of a deceased person. 

These are:

  1. The patient’s personal representative

    A personal representative is the executor or administrator of the deceased person’s estate. An example of when we can confirm that the applicant is a personal representative of the patient is when the applicant is, or has been, the executor of the will and they have sent us copies of documents as evidence of this relationship.
  2. Any person who may have a claim arising out of the patient’s death

    If the application is in respect of a claim arising from a patient’s death, access cannot be given to information that is obviously not relevant to the claim.

    The law requires us to ask you for information to determine your right to access the health record. If you are applying to see a deceased relative’s record, we will need to see one of the following:
    • Grant of probate
    • Letter of administration
    • Last will and testament

    • If you do not have any of these, we need proof of your entitlement to access the record, such as the deceased’s
    • Birth certificate
    • Marriage certificate
    • Death certificate

Proof of identity

It will be necessary to confirm the identity of all parties included on this form. Please supply a photocopy of one document from sections A and B.

Section A: Confirmation of name

  • Full driving licence
  • Passport
  • Birth certificate
  • Marriage certificate
  • Health and Social Care Information Centre identity badge

Section B: Confirmation of address

  • Utility bill
  • Bank statement
  • Credit card statement
  • Benefit book
  • Pension book

Limitations to accessing the record or part of the record

This practice follows the standard health records retention schedule whereby records are no longer held for patients who passed away more than 10 years ago. We are required to check that any disclosure is subject to the recorded wishes of the deceased person.

We will ensure there is nothing in the record that could harm a third person (such as information about the health of another person) if the record is to be released.  If the health record, or part of the health record, is being withheld, we will advise you why but we will not be able to give you specific details. 

It should be noted that under the Access to Health Records Act 1990, there is no obligation for us to provide records prior to 1991 unless a doctor feels this will help in understanding any records created after this date.

If the records that you are requesting relate to a period before 1991, we will have to consider the reasons why you are making this request. Therefore, please clearly specify why you require these records.

About the request

Access will not be given where a request is non-specific, e.g., you have a concern about treatment or care; you will need to outline specific concerns related to the care leading to a potential claim.

Only information directly relevant to a request will be disclosed.

Access for other reasons not specified

If any request does not fall under the categories of people entitled to request the records, then access to a deceased person’s records will be decided on a case-by-case basis. 

The person requesting the records would need to write to the organisation demonstrating the following:

  • They have a valid reason for requesting the records
  • They have a legitimate relationship to the deceased
  • Access to the records is in the public interest