Accessing your medical records online.
From 31st October 2023 General Practices are required to enable patients to have online access to their medical records. This will be active from the date patients sign up to use the NHS App or other online platform and will not normally include historic information. You can read more about it here: How to get your medical records – NHS (www.nhs.uk)
To request this online access you will need complete a online access request form which you can obtain from the Practice.
Your GP holds your main health record, meaning other NHS providers such as hospitals and community services often send us a copy of the information they have for you, or write to tell us about the care they are providing for you.
We know that giving you access to your own medical information can help you to understand and manage your health more effectively. Having access to up-to-date information can be useful, but practices in Blackburn with Darwen are concerned that in many cases, information is sent to your surgery from the hospital or other healthcare provider before you have been told about it. This means you could see a difficult diagnosis or treatment plan before you have been properly told by that service.
Blackburn with Darwen practices have told our local commissioners, the Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care Board, about many examples where this has happened, and the upset and confusion this could cause you. We have asked them to work with us to support improved processes from other healthcare providers so patients get their information at the right time and place. Unfortunately, we have not received this support and are not aware of any positive changes within our local secondary and community service providers.
What does this mean for you?
You may have already requested access to your online medical records. We hope you find this useful.
If you see letters and test results from another provider such as a hospital consultant and you do not understand what it means, or you see a new diagnosis or treatment plan you didn’t know about, please do not contact the Practice but contact the provider directly and ask them to explain it to you because it is their responsibility to do this. NHS England released a letter (Publication reference: PR2074) in December 2022 with guidance for all healthcare providers. If you believe a healthcare provider has not followed this, please bring it to their attention in the first instance.
If you think there’s something in your medical record which isn’t correct or you shouldn’t have seen, please contact the person who added it. If it’s a letter from someone, a hospital department for example, please contact them directly or tell the service’s Customer Service team. If it’s something you think we’ve added, please tell us so we can check. You can do this by ringing us on 01254 915823 with details of the query.
The Practice staff always try to add their medical notes during or shortly after a consultation to make sure they provide the most accurate record they can of what happened during the consultation. There will often be differences in exact recollections between two people but hopefully the important facts can generally be agreed upon. Where there are factual inaccuracies there is a right to rectification, and amendments can be added to notes highlighting where you contest the stated facts. You can find more information about this on the ico.org.uk website by searching under “Right to Rectification’.
Medical records can include lots of different clinical terms. We have produced a list of Frequently Asked Questions to explain some of terms you might read in your records. A copy of this is available on our website or from our surgery team.
On behalf of Oakenhurst Medical Practice.