SUBJECT ACCESS REQUESTS (SAR)
ALSO KNOWS AS REQUESTS FOR
COPIES OF MEDICAL RECORDS
What is the right of access?
The right of access, commonly referred to as subject access, gives individuals the right to obtain a copy of their personal data as well as other supplementary information. It helps individuals to understand how and why we are using their data, and check we are doing it lawfully. Our privacy notice provides further information about this.
What is an individual entitled to?
Individuals have the right to obtain the following from us:
- Confirmation we are processing their personal data;
- A copy of their personal data; and
- Other supplementary information – this largely corresponds to the information that you should provide in a privacy notice detailed above.
Personal data of the individual
An individual is only entitled to their own personal data, and not to information relating to other people (unless the information is also about them or they are acting on behalf of someone).
How do I make a request for my records (SAR)?
Simply come to the practice and ask for a Subject Access Request (SAR) form. Or phone us and we can arrange for one to be sent to you.
For us to progress your request we will need to have evidence that you are who you say you are! Your medical information is exceptionally personal and sensitive and we have a duty of care to protect it for you.
Please bring in 2 x forms of ID – one must be photographic e.g. passport / driving licence /work ID card.
If we know you we will vouch for you without ID.
Then once you have been identified formally, completed the form and advised us what information you need, we do the following:
- Make copies of the part(s) of your record you have requested.
- Pass the records to the GP to check what is being provided for any redactions – to ensure that information being shared would not cause harm or distress to you.
- The GP returns the paperwork to the admin team to action any redactions. They will also remove any reference to 3rd parties not involved in your care.
- The copy of your record is then ready for you and we will contact you to let you know.
- We will do this within one calendar month of having received the completed SAR and having identified you – unless there is an issue which we will notify you about in advance.
- Once you have taken receipt of your copy record, the practice accepts no responsibility or liability for it or how a patient chooses to use the information contained within it. The patient is responsible for secure storage or onward carriage of the information provided in an intact form where that is necessary.
Can someone else make the request on my behalf?
You may ask someone to make the request on your behalf e.g. friend, solicitor, relative.
In these instances we still have a duty of care to ensure that we identify you as the subject and confirm your consent – we need to ensure that we provide you with what you actually want.
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) states:
“If you think an individual may not understand what information would be disclosed to a third party who has made a subject access request on their behalf, you may send the response directly to the individual rather than to the third party. The individual may then choose to share the information with the third party after having had a chance to review it.”
Due to the complex, sensitive nature of medical records, we will ask you to complete a SAR Form in line with the procedure above. We will notify you when your record is ready so that you can choose what you wish to share with the 3rd party.
Birchwood Medical Practice accepts no liability for the record(s) once the patient has confirmed receipt and whether they remain intact for onward carriage to the 3rd party who may need to process information held within them.
What happens if I need another copy of my records?
The first copy of your records is provided for free. Any further requests for the same information whether for yourself or a third party would be deemed manifestly excessive and would incur a fee.
The fee is dependent on the amount of work required and relates to the size of the record and also any complexity involved in its review for redaction prior to final copy readiness.
Recent examples have been in the range of £20 to £183 of work undertaken for copy records.
So, please don’t lose your free copy!