Parenting tip

Your medical notes make interesting reading and may give you a different perspective on the birth of your baby.

Records of your maternity care: costs

Here we look at how you can access your medical records on the care you received during your pregnancy, birth and postnatal period, and how much it will cost.

Under the Data Protection Act you are entitled to view your records for free within 40 days of the last entry in them. To get a copy of your notes after having viewed them you would have to pay a fee (see below). If you wish to view your records after the 40 days then an access fee of £10 may be charged. To get a copy of your notes at that stage you would still have to pay a fee but the £10 access fee would be deducted from the final amount.

NHS organisations are allowed to charge up to £50 for administration/photocopying of notes, usually with a per-page fee, although most hospitals charge a flat administration fee of around £10-25, or £50 if X-rays are also requested since these are expensive to copy.

If you have any difficulties getting a copy of your notes contact the Chief Executive at the organisation concerned and explain the problem. If you still have difficulty you can write to:

Information Commissioner's Office head office
Wycliffe House, Water Lane
Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF
Tel: 0303 123 1113 (or 01625 545745 if you would prefer not to call an ‘03’ number, or +44 1625 545745 if calling from overseas)
Fax: 01625 524510

Scotland office:
The Information Commissioner's Office - Scotland
45 Melville Street,
Edinburgh EH3 7HL
Tel: 0131 244 9001
Email: scotland@ico.gsi.gov.uk

Wales office:
Information Commissioner's Office – Wales
2nd Floor, Churchill House
Churchill Way,
Cardiff CF10 2HH
Tel: 029 2067 8400
Fax: 029 2067 8399
Email: wales@ico.gsi.gov.uk
 
Northern Ireland office:
Information Commissioner's Office – Northern Ireland
51 Adelaide Street,
Belfast BT2 8FE
Tel: 028 9026 9380
Fax: 028 9026 9388
Email: ni@ico.gsi.gov.uk

To keep up to date, please refer to the Information Commissioner's Office's contact us page. If you have any questions, please email websitefeedback@ico.gsi.gov.uk.

Your notes must be sent to you within 40 days of your asking for them. Usually they will be sent sooner. It is a good idea to keep a dated copy of your request letter, so that you can prove when you asked for your notes if there is a disagreement about this later. The 40-day stopclock starts when the record holder receives the fee (if appropriate) and enough written information to help locate the records you seek.

Your medical notes make interesting reading and may give you a different perspective on the birth of your baby. You may find the staff had good reasons for their actions, or that there are further issues about which you want to complain. If you find that the notes are factually incorrect you have the right to have them corrected, or a note from you inserted, putting your version of the events. Sometimes the photocopies are unclear, or times and dates are missing from the edges of the paper – if this happens, ask for a better copy.

If there are things in your notes that you do not understand, you could ask your local NCT antenatal teacher for help, or you could contact the PALS service at the hospital where your baby was born or where you were treated, or your PCT, LHB or HSS Trust, or AIMS (Action on Improvement in Maternity Services) on 0870 765 1433 or www.aims.org.uk

Summary Care Record

The NHS is phasing in electronic medical records and increasingly your medical information is being made available online. If you choose to have a Summary Care Record, you will be able to set up an account on Healthspace to view your information and manage some of your health appointments.

Your Summary Care Record (SCR) contains important information taken from the electronic medical records that the NHS holds for you.

Summary Care Records are being rolled out across England in a phased way. You may have received information from the NHS locally about the Summary Care Record, or will do so in the future. If you choose to have a Summary Care Record, you can view it from www.healthspace.nhs.uk.

For more information about the Summary Care Record, visit the NHS Care Records Service website.

More information:

NHS choices outlines how you can access your medical records and has information on the fees that may be incurred if you choose to do so.

Information on Summary Care Records is posted by the NHS. See also Healthspace, where you can register to view electronic health records held about yourself.