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Who can see care records?

The process is relatively straightforward and governed by the Data Protection Act 1998. Any request you make to an organisation for personal information they keep about you is called a Subject Access Request (SAR).

If you receive a care service, either at home or in a care home, you will be involved in your care planning and access to your records should be quite straightforward as part of your ongoing reviews.

Accessing health or social services records requires a more formal approach. Each health provider or local authority will have details available about how they handle requests for personal information. Your request will need to be in writing and the organisation concerned may ask you to complete their own Subject Access Request form.

There is usually a fee payable, which will be between £10-£50 depending on the type of records requested and whether they are stored electronically or in paper form.

The organisation must respond to your request within 40 calendar days of receipt of your fee, provided they have all the details they need from you to find the information you have requested.

There are limited types of personal information that do not need to be disclosed, notably where the records may identify another person or where disclosure would cause ‘serious’ mental or physical harm.

If you care for someone who does not have the mental capacity to request their own records, you will need to have legal authority to make a Subject Access Request on their behalf. You can do this if you are an Attorney acting under a Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney, if you are a Court appointed Welfare Deputy or if a property and finance LPA has specific instructions in this regard. You will need to include a copy of the power of attorney or Court Order as proof of your authority to act.

If you are not an attorney, all is not lost. Health and social care information can be shared with you, about a loved one, if the organisation considers it is in that person’s best interests to do so. So, for example, a care provider may disclose your wife’s care plan to you as part of her review, or a hospital may share information so that you can decide where your Dad should live when he is discharged.


If you need help and advice in regards to care records in regards to a loved one, contact our Health and Community Care team today by emailing Debbie Anderson (Head of Health & Community Care team) or call 01926 491181

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