Making a request for the deceased

Whilst the General Data Protection Regulation does not extend to cover deceased persons, the Trust is bound by a duty of confidentiality to ensure that only the representative of a deceased person can access their records.

Access to Health Records Act 1990

Under the Access to Health Records Act 1990, the personal representative of the deceased and people who may have a claim arising from the patient’s death are permitted access to the records. This applies to information provided after November 1991 and disclosure should be limited to that which is relevant to the claim in question.

 Access to the health records of a deceased person is restricted to a limited number of people.

What are you entitled to?

You are entitled to see all records made after 1st November, 1991 unless:

  • in the opinion of the Trust, such disclosure would cause serious harm to the physical or mental health of the applicant or any other individual; or
  • the patient had requested that that information is not disclosed to the applicant

For this reason, agreement must be sought from Health Professional(s) at the Trust before disclosure can be made.

Records made before 1st November, 1991 may be made available on a discretionary basis if these are considered by the Trust to be necessary for the applicant’s understanding of that part of the record to which access is being given.

How much will it cost?

Request for records are now free of charge. However if the Trust believes your request to be manifestly unfounded or excessive there are two options available:

  1. We can request a “reasonable fee” to deal with the request, which will be based on the administrative costs of complying with the request; or
  2. We may refuse to deal with the request.

If we decide to charge a fee we will promptly notify you of the reasons why and the amount before completing the request. If we refuse to deal with your request, we will promptly notify you of the reasons why.

How long will it take?

The Trust must comply with its obligations under the GDPR  promptly and within 1 month from the date of receive the request. Should further information or identification be required, we will write to you asking for this information within a few days of receiving the request. We ask for a timely response so your request can be processed within the required time scale.

The Trust can extend the time to respond by a further two months if the request is complex or we have received a number of request from the same individual. Should we seek to extend the time to respond, we will notify you of the request to extend without undue delay and within one month of receiving the request and explain the reasons for the extension.

How to obtain copy medical records for a deceased person

Please complete the form for deceased patients with ID and send to the following postal address or alternatively you can email to:

Legal Services - SARs Team
Residence 15 Medway NHS Foundation Trust
Medway Maritime Hospital
Windmill Road
Gillingham
Kent ME7 5NY  
medwayft.sars@nhs.net