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My medical records have large mistakes in and receptionist is asking me to email her about it?

(32 Posts)
InaccurateMedicalNotesProblem Tue 02-Apr-19 15:16:14

Recently, I had to ask for a summary of my medical notes. To my surprise, there are a number of large mistakes. As an example, one is that it states I had an active eating disorder until last year. I had an eating disorder in my teens and am in recovery for almost 15 years.

There are other mistakes similar to this about my physical health too. All correspondence is over email, when I called originally the receptionist said I had to put my request in an email to the general admin address of the surgery. This person responded with my record attached.

I emailed back to say there were mistakes and the person who I can only assume is another receptionist (she refers to the practice manager, so isn't in that role) has asked me to write out this very personal information including what is wrong and what needs to be changed.

I feel this is a little inappropriate - I have no idea who she is, she signs herself off only using a first name, and I feel uncomfortable about the confidentiality about my medical records. I feel uncomfortable about detailing the ins and outs of details over my health in this way.

Am I being unreasonable or silly? Is this just how it tends to be done?

Also, they say if I want a copy of my whole records that is £50. Is this normal too?

BalloonSlayer Tue 02-Apr-19 15:31:40

I think the £50 charge is normal under data protection (or GDPR)

However, I would hope that if you pointed out to the practice manager that the only reason you need to see your whole records is that the practice has shown, by the summary it provided, that they contain serious inaccuracies, I would hope that they would waive this.

At this point I think I would make a complaint to the practice manager separately. State that you feel the admin person is not an appropriate person to handle something like this and ask for clarification as to why the person asked you to email with your confidential information and what would have been done with it had you done so?
(ie I would wonder whether they might just attach your email with your corrections to the file rather than correcting the file.)

What do you want to happen? Do you want to sit down with someone who will amend your records? Then you need to ask for that and dig your heels in.

woolduvet Tue 02-Apr-19 15:34:53

I thought since Gdpr came in that they couldn't charge.

Numptysod Tue 02-Apr-19 15:41:42

They cannot charge no longer.

MadisonMontgomery Tue 02-Apr-19 15:46:38

I work in a GP surgery - we aren’t allowed to charge anymore for records. Regarding the admin person - our practice manager wouldn’t deal with your request, we have a separate staff member who deals with this type of thing. It is all 100% confidential.

mum11970 Tue 02-Apr-19 15:49:47

It’s the GP Surgery’s email address, who do you think is likely to have access to it who doesn’t already have access to your medical records?

Tomtontom Tue 02-Apr-19 15:52:21

Receptionist generally does admin/ secretarial work in smaller surgeries. They are bound by the same confidentiality rules as any clinical staff.

If you don't want to do it by email then write it down and hand it in.

wigglypiggly Tue 02-Apr-19 15:55:15

I would type out accurate records, make an appointment to speak to the practice manager and a,so your g.p. as they should have up to date accurate medical history and if it's a regular g.p. you have used for years I would ask why there are discrepancies.

InaccurateMedicalNotesProblem Tue 02-Apr-19 16:07:06

It’s the GP Surgery’s email address, who do you think is likely to have access to it who doesn’t already have access to your medical records?

It's not about who has access, exactly, that makes me uncomfortable.

To amend the records, it involves a conversation where I say something like "please can you amend the dates stated about my eating disorder - I have not suffered from it since X date, and this is backed up by the correspondence from my psychiatrist Mr Y who says I have not restricted or purged and so met criteria for an ED now for over a year and am doing well in his letter from October 2005" or whatever.

I don't want to have that sort of detailed conversation with a receptionist. A doctor or practice manager or person who's job it is to look after records - ok.

InaccurateMedicalNotesProblem Tue 02-Apr-19 16:08:22

Thank you for the advice on how to go about it. I called and predictably, everyone who could speak to me about records is gone home and can I call back tomorrow hmm

TheNanny23 Tue 02-Apr-19 16:22:46

But it will be one of the admins staff jobs to look after the records. It’s difficult to say from what you say here but it sounds like you’re talking about GP coding- it appears on the summaries but is more about the way GPs get paid. It might be that the eating disorder was coded at the time and someone has only gone and clicked it off last year- this isn’t saying that you had it all that time, it’s just administrative. I see adults frequently who still have ‘childhood eczema’ coded even though clearly it’s long since been a problem. A GP who was seeing you would have access to more information and not judge you on this if that is what you’re worried about. I can see why you’re concerned but this is an issue for a member of admin staff to sort, in the politest way it really wouldn’t be the best use of one of the doctor’s time unless the content of a letter or comething is really clinically wrong.

GetOffTheRoof Tue 02-Apr-19 16:24:47

Be aware the summary records are not a proper reflection of the actual records - I had this recently. The summaries don't really show you what they actually say.

Mine said I had a drinking problem, was suicidal and had self harmed. All great when going into the adoption process... When I checked with the surgery, it turned out that they had actually ticked boxes to say I was NONE of those things, but the summary record doesn't make that clear, as it's a rubbish print out. See your full records before you worry too much.

villagesecret Tue 02-Apr-19 16:40:56

Seriously, you don't want someone who has a job which means she is used to dealing with patients confidential health records to do yours because????

endofthelinefinally Tue 02-Apr-19 16:48:12

I agree with you OP.
I worked in a clinical role in general practice for many years.
I would expect the practice manager to speak with you about this.
Everywhere I worked, receptionists had limited access to medical records and would absolutely not be allowed to alter or modify anything.

Medical coding is whole issue on its own.
I once overheard a conversation between 2 young women who were updating some records (in hospital) and one was telling the other that if she couldn't read something she just guessed.
I did report it BTW, but no idea if anything was done about it.

InaccurateMedicalNotesProblem Tue 02-Apr-19 16:49:45

I agree it is not a good use of a GP's time, but I think the practice manager is more appropriate to help with this than the receptionist. Or if the receptionist does both jobs, then an appointment to go through it all in person. There are a lot of errors about a number of gynaecological procedures. It is complicated material, I feel it will lead to endless back and forth emails.

For example, another error is that the notes say my endometriosis is 'resolved and in the past'. No it bloody isn't.

There is also no mention of another quite significant diagnosis that is relevant to other things that are mentioned. It just all feels like a messy, chaotic shambles.

I'm not comfortable having an intimate conversation via email ping pong with a receptionist about medical stuff that is very personal to me. The errors that have really made me raise my eyebrows, and alright it could be the coding, but I need it resolved.

As a patient and layperson I don't know about how they code the notes but if I ask for my notes, I think it is reasonable to receive a document where things are accurate and clear.

I'm not going through an adoption process but a similar-ish situation is why I've asked for the records, and this is really not helpful.

wigglypiggly Tue 02-Apr-19 17:04:27

Your g.p. needs an accurate up to date record, no one will be able to alter your notes but the g.p. or practice manager should be able to add the correct information. Some of the wrong info might have come from your hospital appointments so maybe contact them too.

Home77 Tue 02-Apr-19 17:13:05

This can be a right pain for things like PIP. Mine also has errors, there is an Active and Past conditions part and some things appear in both!

i worry PIP can use it and say things are in the past when they're not...

fleshmarketclose Tue 02-Apr-19 17:14:01

My daughter asked for hers there is some unidentified person's pretty complex health matters,diagnosis and test results and her brother's consultations recorded as well all attributed to dd. Her concern would be that if she was taken to hospital unconscious they might well presume that she has the diagnosis and medication of the unknown person in her records and treat her accordingly which might well be damaging particularly as the unknown patient is also recorded as having a penicillin allergy.

PlainSpeakingStraightTalking Tue 02-Apr-19 17:22:55

I don't want to have that sort of detailed conversation with a receptionist. A doctor or practice manager or person who's job it is to look after records - ok.

I don't mean to be dismissive, but do you really think the GP is going to be monitoring the surgery inbox, hoying out your records etc ? or do you think that lowly job may fall to the admin staff - call her a receptionist if you must, but she's probably a qualified medical secretary - for the admin to marry your complaint with your records, and the GP can authorise corrections after reading through ?

You do realise, everyone is bound by the same oath of confidentiality, GP right down to the floor cleaner?

InaccurateMedicalNotesProblem Tue 02-Apr-19 17:24:03

Yep, I have the Active and Past sections too! With the wrong medical conditions in the wrong section!

That's horrific about your daughter's notes being totally mixed up with other people's @fleshmarketclose shock as you say, it's dangerous.

Processedpea Tue 02-Apr-19 17:29:50

I saw my electronic history today and it said I'd had my tonsils out when ive definitely still got them

endofthelinefinally Tue 02-Apr-19 17:30:35

Also, NHS email is not secure.
A nursing colleague had hers hacked.

wigglypiggly Tue 02-Apr-19 17:31:23

If you cant get to see the g.p. type out the correct information take it to the surgery, ask for it to be added to your records.

Bunnybaubles Tue 02-Apr-19 17:33:17

My medical records said I suffered severe migraines and had recently been hospitalised which a g.p based my new medication on. I had been on my new medication for a couple months and only after a complication with it I asked why I was given that instead of my usual medication that i was told it was because of my migraines! I had never suffered migraines and I had never ever been in hospital because of them!

InaccurateMedicalNotesProblem Tue 02-Apr-19 17:34:17

@PlainSpeakingStraightTalking I don't think a receptionist is a lowly job. I have been a receptionist myself. It is a valuable job but a very different one from that which has specific training in healthcare, either admin side or clinical.

None of the receptionists I have spoken to at my practice have ever been efficient or helpful, though they are all pleasant enough people. I highly doubt they are trained medical secretaries.

I don't care if they are bound by confidentiality, and I am very happy for them to do things like see my notes/ attach them to an email.

I am not comfortable discussing the ins and outs of my medical conditions with the receptionists, in fine detail about my mental health and undignified endometriosis symptoms and bla bla bla. It is undignified. Bully for you if you are happy to do it, what admirably thick skin you have.

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