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Medical records help?(3 Posts)
I've posted this in chat but only had one reply, hopefully someone here will be able to help me
In the past 5 years I have gone from running each day, cycling for hours and walking everywhere to being almost housebound from Ehlers danlos syndrome and poly-arthritis.
This all came about when I started a college course in childcare and realised I was in so much pain by the end of the day and most days left at lunch time as my back was locking or I was falling asleep (not good when you have 6 under ones to entertain.)
I left high school 5 years ago and an eating disorder (anorexia) most of the time I was there, parents weren't involved with treatment.
Instead my lovely head of year looked out for me, rang the doctors, made appointments, told them If I was getting worse (I was suicidal and had made attempts). I now know that he risked his job for me and will always be grateful for that. He even booked taxi's to take me to CAMHS 20 miles from the school without my parents knowledge.
What I really want to know though is how it all ended up like this and what the doctors and my head of year were talking about.
I'm trying to piece together everything that's happened these past few years and it all seems to be a complete blur to me.
Since leaving school I have been diagnosed with Bipolar 2 after driving at 90mph down a country lane and hitting a tree side on when I was meant to be in college.
I had my son 2.2 years ago and social workers hounded me the second they found out but would never explain why.
It feels like I can't live my life properly until I know how I got to this point mentally.
I know things were said by me while I was ill but I don't know what.
The only people that know anything would be the doctor's and my head of year.
What are the chances of being able to get to see my medical records from all those years ago? and how would I go about it.
The NHS website says a permanent copy can be obtained for £50. Would this mean I can keep it? or would I still need to be at the gp's to see it?
I just want the continuous dreams/nightmares about school and college to finish, It's as If I just want to go back there and relive the last few years and see what happened but that's obviously not possible.
I feel lost
Sorry you've had such a difficult time. I would start with your GP records. Contact the surgery to find out what to do. You will need to sign a release form. Unfortunately there is no one place where all medical records are contained so, for example, if you'd need treated at three different hospitals then there would be three sets of notes. These are owned by and stored at each hospital.
But, your GP records should contain correspondence from any appointments or admissions so should be fairly complete although obviously this varies as some doctors write thorough letters and some not.
Five years isn't very long. I'm not sure about school records but you could call and ask. Maybe your lovely teacher is still there even.
Make an appointment to discuss this with your GP. Hopefully they will be able to help and make the process easier for you.
I've requested a lot of my medical/educational records. Use the Information Commissioner's website for a model letter - some organisations will have their own forms, but by law they should treat any written request in the same way, they can't say you need to use their form. You need to make a subject access request. They can charge you the cost of photocopying but the cost is capped to £50 - mine cost more than that but they weren't allowed to charge more. I think some organisations can only charge up to £10, there are different rules but they'll be on the ICO website. There is a time limit in which they have to respond. They may ask you for some form of evidence to prove your ID. I would recommend sending any requests in writing, mentioning the Data Protection Act, and sending by recorded delivery. Then if they fail to respond within the time period, you can raise it with the ICO and include the recorded delivery receipt as evidence.
For different hospitals/institutions, you need to make separate requests as pp mentioned. Try to include information like dates of admissions, names of consultants you saw, but always say that you want the full records because there may be some correspondence that you're not even aware of. I think it is always worth paying a bit more for the full set of records than just requesting a few bits and risk missing out on information (I was using mine for a legal case so any bits of new evidence were helpful - and I did get some surprising insights.) You can also make a request to social services. There are slightly different rules around ss records and they have more rights to withold information, on the grounds that it might cause you distress. They may insist on an appointment to discuss the records, while most other organisations will just treat it as correspondence and get on with printing out the records.
Sometimes one organisation will not release records written from another organisation, e.g. a letter from CAMHS might not be released if it is written from them to SS and you made the request to SS. So you'd need to make the request to CAMHS as well as SS to make sure you have a full picture. It sounds as though you have had involvement from a lot of services, so try to think of all the different ones which might have had any bearing on your issues - educational institutions, social services, any clinics, hospitals, housing, police, dvla etc.
There should be no need to make an appointment or to discuss it if you don't want to - I know I would have been put off by that and perhaps intimidated, although you may find it easier to speak to someone in person.
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