The Access to Health Records Act 1990 gives certain people a right to see the health records of somebody who has died. These people are defined under section 3(1)(f) of that act as ‘the patient’s personal representative and any person who may have a claim arising out of the patient’s death’.
You can obtain more information by visiting the Health Records pages NHSInform
Criteria for Access
The Access to Health Records Act, 1990 lays down strict guidance on what personal information can be provided to a third party regarding a deceased patient. Our application form has therefore been designed to provide us with sufficient information to ensure that we only provide access to those who are legally entitled to receive this.
The Act gives certain people a right to see the health records of somebody who has died. These people are defined under section 3(1) (f) of that Act as:
- The patient’s personal representative. This will be the executor or administrator of the deceased person’s estate.
- Any person who may have a claim arising out of the patient’s death.
If you meet the criteria outlined above and wish to access someone’s records you should complete the AHRA Access Application Form.
We would like to draw your attention to the following points:
- Next of kin have no automatic right of access to these records;
- Individuals meeting the criteria above will be required to provide proof, e.g., a copy of the will naming an executor or a letter from a solicitor regarding a claim;
- The Act only allows access to records recorded after 1 November 1991;
- You may not be able to see information which could cause serious harm to your physical or mental health, or anyone else’s;
- You may not be able to see information which could identify another person (except members of NHS staff who have treated the patient), unless that person gives their permission;
- You won’t be able to see the records of someone who made it clear that they didn’t want other people to see their records after their death.
We will deal with your request as quickly as possible. If we have any problems getting your information, we will keep you up to date on our progress.
Points to consider
Accessing health records and information is an important matter. Releasing information may in certain circumstances cause distress. You may want to speak to an appropriate health professional before filling in the form.
If you would like to apply to obtain the records of a deceased patient, please complete an AHRA Access Application Form paying close attention to the criteria outlined above.