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Why do pregnancy and labour notes "belong" to the health authority?

(10 Posts)
LexyMa Sat 02-Feb-13 12:58:45

I was fascinated by my pregnancy notes and read them after appointments so I would know any little warnings signs they might be looking out for like BP changes, etc. (although there weren't any in the end, all very textbook).

I didn't get to read the pages and pages of notes that the MW wrote while I laboured in the MLU, and I know there was time in the hospital while I was waiting to be discharged. I didn't even have access to the notes at that point I think. I've written to ask for a copy now, but I think you have to pay a copying charge?

Why is this? Why is it such a drama to have to request to see the details of a fairly key medical event in your life? I don't mean to suggest that people should routinely keep their own and they not be stored on an NHS system at all, but why aren't they more easily available? What is it about pregnancy and childbirth that has to be 'owned' by health authorities rather than be part of your GP records?

RightUpMyRue Sat 02-Feb-13 13:00:51

They're a legal document and the health authority need them in case you sue them.

You have every right to see them though.

WaitingForMe Sat 02-Feb-13 13:02:07

I didn't have to give mine back until I was discharged by MW at ten days so we scanned them so we had a copy. I don't know anyone who didn't have their notes for reading/scanning before handing them over.

JollyRedGiant Sat 02-Feb-13 13:06:33

I didn't see my labour notes at all. And they were actually woefully incomplete so I had to give the consultant details of what had happened. My GP took similarly crap notes at my 6 wk post partum check so when I got pregnant again the midwife had no idea what had happened last labour.

Thank goodness I was conscious and remember what went on (and so does DH) or I wouldn't have been taken nearly seriously enough when I told the mw that I require (for medical reasons) an ELCS for future births.

LexyMa Sat 02-Feb-13 13:23:36

If they are a legal document isn't it as valid to say that the subject should have them in case they want to sue? The potential litigee shouldn't hold all the evidence.

I guess I am saying why the Health Authority? Why not with your other health records? Why not in some independent archive?

Jollyb Sat 02-Feb-13 13:34:11

It's the same with general hospital notes - your GP won't have direct access to them. All they will receive are copies of any letters or discharge summaries.

I've recently moved house and will be having my second baby in a different hospital. I had a complicated delivery and so I asked my midwife whether they will get hold of my old maternity records and apparently they won't.

If you want a copy contact your PALS team at the hospital and they should be able to point you in the right direction.

VisualiseAHorse Sat 02-Feb-13 16:42:08

I've never seen my notes - although I have constantly requested to (PND issues possibly caused by labour). I've been asking for 8 months now. But I do have an appointment on Wednesday, so I'm going to get them photocopied.

I'll know better for next time, and get both my pregnancy and labour notes copied.

Startail Sat 02-Feb-13 16:55:14

I had a home birth so I photo copied mine before the MW went home.

Just felt kind of attached to them.

Chunderella Sat 09-Feb-13 13:36:24

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LexyMa Sat 09-Feb-13 16:03:40

Yes I've just got my letter in response. £20 up to 5 pages, £30 for 6-30 pages and £50 for 31 pages or more. That's a lot of money for my own data!!! If I wanted to go and read the notes there myself would I also have to pay? Photocopying and postage must be only a small element of the charge.

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