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access to health records

One of the 12 statements in the Epilepsy charter covering the rights and services that a person with epilepsy can expect.

The Epilepsy charter says: ‘You have a right to access your own health records.’ To help you understand more about your health, you can ask to see your health records.

National guidelines

The Handbook to the NHS Constitution (opens new window) says:

"You have the right of access to your own health records."

"The NHS commits to share with you any letters sent between clinicians about your care."

Access to records

If you would like to see your own health records, you can ask your clinician (GP or hospital doctor) about this. Your doctors might already copy you in on letters (such as letters after your appointments or referral letters), or you can ask them to if they don't already do this. Being able to see your health records, and any letters about your care, might help you to understand more about your health. It might also help with making decisions about your healthcare, and being able to discuss with your doctors any questions or concerns you have .

Although you have a legal right to access your health records, sometimes you will be charged for this.

Information strategy

The Government’s information strategy (opens new window), launched in 2012, is a 10-year plan for improving information in the NHS. The strategy includes an aim that everyone should be able to access their GP records, including test results, online by 2015.

The strategy also says that all confidential information in healthcare records must be kept safe and secure, and only used appropriately. It also means that health records are shared appropriately with professionals who might be involved in your care, so that they can offer the best treatment and management of your condition.

Get the charter

Order the fold-out guide through our online shop. The guide shows your care pathway from a first seizure, through diagnosis, treatment and self-management. Or download the Epilepsy charter (PDF, 790.74kb).