Data Protection and Healthcare Records


Data Protection Act 1998 – Fair Processing Notice

The purpose of this fair processing notice is to explain how your personal information may be used by other NHS organisations, local councils, voluntary bodies, Police and Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) with whom The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic NHS Foundation Trust (RJAH) works in partnership.

The health professionals who care for you use your records to:

  • Provide a good basis for all health decisions made by you and healthcare professionals
  • Make sure your care is safe and effective
  • Work effectively with others providing your care


We may also need to use records about you to:

  • Assess the quality of care you receive through clinical audits
  • Help investigate any concerns or complaints you or your family have about your healthcare
  • Make sure our services meet patient needs in the future
  • Teach and train health professionals
  • Fund, develop and plan our services for you
  • Protect the health of the general public

No further disclosures shall be made by RJAH other than in accordance with the law, to comply with any legal obligations and in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998.  Such disclosures are listed in RJAH’s entry which can be found on the UK Information Commissioner’s Public Register of Data Controllers.  RJAH’s registration number is Z4918057.

The following leaflet provides further detail about how we use your information: Information we hold about you and how we use it

Under the Data Protection Act 1998, you now have extra rights with regards to your personal information and how it is handled. One of the rights is to access your health record. This section will tell you what you need to know about this and how the Data Protection Act 1998 may affect you.

What is a health record?

A health record is a collection of information that is unique to the individual patient describing their physical or mental health or condition, this includes Xrays and diagnostic images . The record may be made by, or on behalf of a doctor, a nurse or a person looking after you. 

Who can apply?

You can apply to see your own records, but you can also apply:

  • On behalf of your child, with your child’s consent. If the child is unable to understand, you can see the records provided the doctor in charge of the case decides it is in the child’s best interest;
  • To see the record of a patient who has died, if you are acting as their personal representative or if you have a claim resulting from their death;
  • On behalf of somebody who is not capable of giving permission because of age or illness. However, you would have to be appointed by a court to do this.

Can I directly inspect my health record?

The Act does not provide you with a right to directly inspect your health record, although this can, of course be agreed between you and the hospital. It is Department of Health policy that patients who wish to see what is written about them in their record should be allowed to do so, subject to given exemptions and procedures, and unless there are compelling reasons to the contrary.

How do I access my health record?

To get access to your records, you have to apply in writing to the:

Medico-legal clerk
Clinical Governance Department
The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
Oswestry, Shropshire
SY10 7AG

Telephone: 01691 404553 

Office Hours:

  • Monday 9.00 - 2.45
  • Tuesday 9.15 - 5.30
  • Wednesday 9.00 - 2.45
  • Thursday 8.00 - 2.45

If you ring the department, the appropriate forms will then be sent out for you to fill in.  You can also download an electronic copy of the form from the bottom of this page.

Will there be a charge for access to my health record?

Accessing health records is free of charge if:

  • the records have been updated in the previous 40 days; and
  • you don’t require a copy.

If the records have not been updated in the last 40 days and you don’t require a copy, the maximum charge is £10.  If you decide that you do want a copy, the maximum £10 charge for viewing will be included in the fee for obtaining a copy (see below). If you want a copy of the health records, the fee will depend on how the records are stored:

  • on computer: maximum £10;
  • partly on computer and partly in another form: maximum £50;
  • totally in another form: maximum £50.

What are the time limits for dealing with a subject access request?

When we have all the relevant information from you in order to process the request and if the record is available and the fee has been paid (if applicable) then we must respond within 40 days after the request has been made.  Where it is not possible for the Trust to comply within this period we will inform you.

Are there any circumstances in which information contained within my health record may be withheld?

Under the Data Protection Act 1998, there are certain circumstances in which the Trust may withhold information. Access may be denied, or limited, where

  • the information might cause serious harm to the physical or mental well-being of you, or any other person;
  • giving access would disclose information relating to or provided by a third party who has not consented to the disclosure.

Can the Trust refuse to process an application for accessing my health record?

Yes, where an access request has previously been fulfilled, the Act allows the Trust not to respond to a subsequent identical or similar request unless there is a reasonable gap since the last one. To decide this, the Trust will consider the reason for the request, the nature of the information, how often the information is added to, and the reason for processing.

Is the Trust obliged to provide me with a copy?

On receipt of the fee, yes, unless

  • you agree not to have a copy;
  • it is not possible to supply a copy of the information requested (e.g. records have been destroyed);
  • to do so would involve disproportionate effort (the amount of work needed to copy all the information).

How will my records be shown to me?

If you are given access, you will be sent a photocopy of the relevant parts of your medical record by post. If you require an explanation of any medical terms or abbreviations which are not clear to you, or entries which are difficult to read, then you may request an appointment with a member of staff to have these explained.

Can I change my records?

If you think the record is inaccurate, as to matters of fact, you can ask for it to be corrected. The trust isn’t obliged to accept your corrections, but if it doesn’t a note about why you think the information is inaccurate will be added to your records. You will be sent a copy free of charge.

Further information

You can also find out more information by visiting the NHS Choices website at www.nhs.uk and searching for the term 'Subject Access Requests'.