Legal advice: Am I allowed to read my own hospital notes?
Question: I was in hospital recently and was told by a nurse that I had to make an appointment with the doctor if I wanted to read my own notes. Surely they are my property and I am entitled to read them?
Notes made about you whilst you are in hospital, or any other health setting, are not yours. If it is an NHS hospital, they belong to the health secretary; if it is a private hospital, they belong to the consultant or the hospital itself.
If something belongs to someone else, you do not have a right to it. The Data Protection Act 1998 allows you to access your health records, but this usually means you receive a copy rather than obtaining and holding the originals.
Your role as a nurse does not give you extra privileges with regard to seeing your own health record....
Want to read more?
Unlock full access to RCNi Plus today
Save over 50% on your first three months:
- Customisable clinical dashboard featuring 200+ topics
- Unlimited online access to all 10 RCNi Journals including Nursing Standard
- RCNi Learning featuring 180+ RCN accredited learning modules
- NMC-compliant RCNi Portfolio to build evidence for revalidation
- Personalised newsletters tailored to your interests