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Hospital Patients' Medical Records

Volume 885: debated on Tuesday 28 January 1975

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67.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what steps are taken to ensure the complete confidentiality of hospital patients' medical records.

This is ensured by the ethical code which all doctors, nurses and other professional staff observe, and by the physical security of the records. Access to records is limited to staff who need to use them in connection with the treatment of the patients, and all staff are expected to maintain strict security and confidentiality. Beyond this, access to the records of identifiable patients is allowed only with the authority of the doctor concerned, who normally obtains the consent of the patient as well.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) what rights a National Health Service hospital outpatient has to examine his medical record and case papers;(2) what rights an in-patient in a National Health Service hospital has to examine his medical record, file and case papers.

A patient, whether an inpatient or an out-patient, has no right to examine the medical records relating to him; these are compiled for the assistance of medical and other professional staff concerned in his treatment. It is for the patient's doctor to decide what information should be given to the patient.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many and which hospitals use computers to collate and record patients' medical histories.

None in England, although a small number of hospitals include in computer-based records a few items of clinical information which have been extracted from fuller manual records.