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A previous article of mine explored why solicitors request access to a person’s medical records in claims for personal injury; such as injuries arising out of an accident at work, a trip or fall or a road traffic accident. It discussed the importance of disclosure of personal and private medical records, who will see the records and whether a person can refuse their solicitor access to your medical records.

There has been a recent change to accessing medical records. The legislation previously governing access to medical records was the Data Protection Act 1998. However, from the 25 May 2018 the General Data Protection Regulations and the Data Protection Act 2018 replaced the Data Protection Act 1998 bringing with it widespread changes to UK data protection legislation.

From the 25 May, in most cases, patients must be given access to their medical records free of charge. This includes patients who authorise access by a third party such as a solicitor. What this means is going forwards GP surgeries are obliged to provide access to a patient’s medical records following a request free of charge. Previously GP’s could charge up to £50.00 to supply a copy of a patient’s medical records.

The process of requesting access to personal data such as medical records

Individuals have the right to access their personal data including their medical records. A request of this type is commonly referred to as subject access. Individuals can make a subject access request verbally or in writing. The person or organisation to whom the request is made has a period of one month to respond to the request. They cannot charge a fee to deal with a request in most circumstances. However, if the volumes of medical records are deemed excessive a supplier may be permitted to submit a reasonable charge.

If you have suffered an injury or accident at work and need any advice please contact a member of our experienced team on 0800 999 6661 or email

By Emma Pearce, Solicitor.

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