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Can he look up my medical notes?

(67 Posts)
NameChang12 Wed 18-Sep-19 21:28:51

Posting here for traffic.

Is it possible for my ex husband to look up my medical notes?

I’ve recently been diagnosed with a condition which requires major surgery although recovery prognosis is good. But it’s a possibility that I may need a carer for up to a year whilst I rehabilitate. If all goes well I should make a full recovery but I have been informed that a long rehab period is a small possibility.

Unfortunately I’m currently caught in a bad divorce where ex wants full custody of dc.

I haven’t told him about the illness and don’t wish to in case he uses it against me. He’ll obviously have to know I’m having surgery as it will affect our dc but for all he knows it could be something routine.

However he is a doctor (GP) and I’m afraid if he looks up my records he will use this information against me.

I know he’s not allowed to in theory but I wouldn’t put it past him to look it up on the sly. He’s not stupid and won’t ever admit it but there are undoubtedly ways that he could force this information to come out.

Are there any doctors on MN who knows if he’s able to do this?

LunaTheCat Wed 18-Sep-19 21:33:11

If he looked up your notes it would be gross misconduct. It is reportable to GMC.

NameChang12 Wed 18-Sep-19 21:35:31


Thanks for your reply. Yes I realise that but I know what he’s like and if he knew he could away with it he wouldn’t hesitate. He would then pretend to have put all things together himself with a diagnosis and I wouldn’t be able to deny it in a court.

Thinktwicefirst Wed 18-Sep-19 21:38:09

I'm not a doctor but I work in the nhs. Are you a patient at the surgery he works at? If not he shouldn't have access to any notes. In some areas gps have access to view radiology scans and reports and lab results from their local hospitals. You could speak to your hospital's PALs team who can find out the set up in your area and check who has recently accessed your information. It would potentially be the end of his career if he looked and was caught. Almost all IT systems in the nhs keep a trace of who has viewed them. Best of luck with everything you are dealing with.

eladen Wed 18-Sep-19 21:38:19

Electronic records show who's accessed them and when. He couldn't just lie and claim he didn't look.

babycatcher411 Wed 18-Sep-19 21:38:19

He theoretically could, depending if he works in the same environment as to which your notes are stored (ie as a midwife I work on a different record system to the nurses that work in the same hospital, so neither could view each other’s patient records).
However, he could be struck off (which is not going to look good in a court of law) for it, and to be able to use the information in court he would have to demonstrate where he got the information from and thus would be admitting to wrongful acquisition of medical record

Onwardsagain Wed 18-Sep-19 21:38:47

@LunaTheCat is correct.

If they are digital notes there would also be an audit trail created by everyone that has accessed them, what they looked at and when. If you really did become concerned you would be able to have this investigated, anyone not directly involved in your care and without a legitimate reason to be in your file would have to answer for and explain their actions.

NameChang12 Wed 18-Sep-19 21:42:26

Ok this is making me feel a bit better. Thank you everyone.

I’m not a patient at his practice but he does work at the hospital where I am being treated.

Would he be able to access my notes that way? As a doctor at the hospital?

And would it show up that he looked?

CherryPavlova Wed 18-Sep-19 21:42:28

If you’re not a team the practice where he works, it would be very difficult. A few areas are introducing online accessibility for GPs and hospitals but it’s not very widespread and most could not see the full hospital notes.
It’s unlikely that he could gain access to your records. Lots of hospitals can’t even find their own patient records for use within the hospital. Only recently are paper notes beginning to be tagged and tracked. Most are still paper files that cannot be seen without a specific request.

Kokapetl Wed 18-Sep-19 21:43:23

I think he could only access your record if he worked at the practice where you are registered. Otherwise very unlikely he could get access. Individual details aren't usually shared between practices.

I am not sure whether the new networks will change this but he'd then still need to be in the same network as your doctors. Even then the two might be on different systems so couldn't transfer.

Also every time anyone acesses your record, it is traceable and you can find out whether he has or not (and press charge if so).

SpringFan Wed 18-Sep-19 21:47:51

In all of the areas I have worked recently, details of anyone accessing your notes are recorded on the system. If hCP accesses the notes, he/she needs to record why, if there was not a consultation. However this was in primary care. Don't know anything about hospital systems these days.
As PP said, it would be an GMC issue of he did.
If you think it might be an issue at a hospital maybe speak to PALS and flag up your concerns? I think there are flags that can be added to notes but I am not sure.

newmefor2020 Wed 18-Sep-19 21:53:18

It would leave an electronic footprint on your file, which could result HCPC involvement for misconduct. He would be risking his registration.

SpotlessMind Wed 18-Sep-19 21:57:15

It’s possible that he could access your records via the hospital but it would leave an audit trail. I guess he could use someone else’s log in (ie if they walked away from the computer and he jumped on) but even then it would be obvious if someone who wasn’t meant to had accessed the record. I would also contact PALS to share your concern and see if there is a way to lock down your records or flag any odd activity. I would also be tempted to mention it to the ward staff so that they can be careful about putting your name on boards etc. If he did it and was caught it could be career ending stuff. Sorry you have this extra stress going on, I hope your op and recovery go smoothly.

NameChang12 Wed 18-Sep-19 22:03:46

Thank you all. I think I will contact PALS for peace of mind.

Thinktwicefirst Wed 18-Sep-19 22:04:46

You could look up your Trust's Information Governance team and contact them for advice. They will be the experts and willing to work with you to prevent a breach of confidentiality.

NameChang12 Wed 18-Sep-19 22:08:55

Thanks Thinktwice I will do that

gavisconismyfriend Wed 18-Sep-19 22:41:33

Usually if anyone looks up someone with the same surname as them or who lives on the same street etc. there is an inbuilt warning system that flags this up to information governance and it results in an immediate and thorough investigation. I'd be pretty confident that this applies to all systems nowadays and as a PP has said, there is an automatic audit trail for any access to electronic notes. The rules of Health Trusts are usually extremely clear that you can only look up the medical information of someone whose care you are directly involved in - anything else is a data breach and treated as gross misconduct. He'd risk losing his job if he looked up your information.

savingshoes Wed 18-Sep-19 22:45:54

Yes he can, it's highly likely he's already viewed it already if he knew he could away with it he wouldn’t hesitate
Unless you opted out, you (?unknowingly) gave consent for your full medical record to be inputted onto the Nhs digital for all health professionals to view, everyone with an NHS has a record on the spine.
Details usually go back 2 years but can go back years and years.
Whilst he may not see the detailed notes that a GP wrote on your last appointment or open referral letters etc, he is likely to be able see a diagnoses, drugs you're regularly prescribed and the date this condition was diagnosed etc.
Yes there is a system in place that monitors who has looked at what but he's a doctor in a hospital checking a patient's notes - nothing about that is suspicious unless they knew your relationship.
The level of access can be controlled though. If you only want your basic details viewable outside the GP surgery you need to opt out which you can do anytime your surgery is open.
You need to telephone your surgery and speak to the team that deal with records/results etc (not booking appointments) and say that you want to opt out of your Summary Care Records being viewed outside of the practice.
There's risks to opt out but it's your decision to make.

someoneontheinterweb Wed 18-Sep-19 22:49:17

I’ve known someone to lose their job (as a nurse) for looking up details of their ex husband. She actually only wanted his address and didn’t see any medical history, and that was considered serious enough to dismiss. If you even suspected that he’d looked, he’d be investigated.

SwishSwoosh Wed 18-Sep-19 22:50:13

As others have said electronic medical notes have an audit trail but so do paper records too - they usually have to be signed in and out.

HollowTalk Wed 18-Sep-19 22:53:08

I have to say I think any man who wants full custody when his ex is a normal woman (not abusive, not a druggie etc) is a complete and utter bastard.

Countrylifeornot Wed 18-Sep-19 23:02:42

He could use someone else's log in, it's fairly common for people to walk away from a desktop and remain logged in. You'd not be able to prove it was him.

Straycatblue Wed 18-Sep-19 23:21:45

I’m not a patient at his practice but he does work at the hospital where I am being treated.
Would he be able to access my notes that way? As a doctor at the hospital?

Im sorry to say that its entirely possible and it all depends on how your hospital systems work.

If all your notes are electronic then whoever views them will leave an electronic record trail, so he could view them but then would if discovered would likely be disciplined but this doesnt mean that he cannot get a fellow colleague/friend to look them up who may have a good reason to be viewing your records and then tell him what he finds.

or often people step away from their computers without logging off for various reasons inc emergencies and it would be possible for him to look under their login details so that there is no trace to him.

Patients hospital medical notes ie physical notes in hospital are signed out to the area where the patient is situated and not neccecarily to a particular person and are usually situated at the nurses station or in the ward doctors office but these are not manned full time and if he works in that hospital there likely would be nothing to stop him just going to the ward and reading the notes if he so wished.

Nat6999 Thu 19-Sep-19 02:24:18

I didn't work in the health service, I worked in Taxes, any relation of a member of staff's records were marked & were only accessible by staff who had sufficient clearance, ordinary staff couldn't access them. Ask if this is possible for your medical records, not forgetting that there are also paper records in your file.

Willowkins Thu 19-Sep-19 03:03:55

Can I suggest, if you haven't already done so, that you get the hospital to check/amend your records to ensure that he's not recorded as your next of kin - just to remove the possibility that he finds out that way.

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