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What are my rights in obtaining hospital records?

(10 Posts)
Moomin Sun 24-Jul-05 20:09:37

As some posters might know, I'm having to act as next of kin in trying to get my brother medically repatriated to the UK from the Maldives where he has been seriously ill (but on the road to recovery now thank goodness). His boss is trying to arrange for his professional insurance to pay for him to come back (he's a diver) even though the illness was not work-related.

The diving insurance people need to see the medical report made on my brother by A&E at the Manchester Royal Infirmary the day before he flew out on 10th July, as they seriously misdiagnosed his condition. The diving insurance company have been in touch with MRI already who won't release db's details to them without permission. Db is too ill and too far away to give it himself so it's down to me. I have to ring them tomorrow morning and request a copy of his medical report from that visit. I need to know from others' experience:
1) how likely is it that they will let me give permission by phone and fax them to me direct?
2) or will I have to go up in person and be handed them in case they need documents, signatures, etc?
3) will they take into the account the exceptional circumstances, esp if I explain I live 150 miles away from M'chester, am 26wks pg with SPD and would have great difficulty in getting there?
Basically can I insist I get copies of these documents? The diving insurers want the details urgently and his successful repatriation depends on this.

SoupDragon Sun 24-Jul-05 20:16:02

I would imagine you would have to sign a request of some description so they have something to produce in the event your brother complains about them releasing his medical records (unlikely but you may not be who you say you are)

nell12 Sun 24-Jul-05 20:16:09

yes you can get access... data protection act etc.
I got all my records sent to me, had to pay for photocopying etc.
The insurance company should do all this themselves, however

SoupDragon Sun 24-Jul-05 20:16:58

Is your brother well enough to sign a request form if they faxed him one?

Tissy Sun 24-Jul-05 20:18:03

moomin, not sure of your rights, but do sympathise. It may be easier for the hospital your brother is in to request copies of the A+E records from Manchester, though, rather than the insurance company. Whenever we have been asked to release medical records, we HAVE to have the subjects signature, to say that they consent to release. When other hospitals ask (we assume it's to help with treatment) they seem to be sent without questioning. (Not saying this is right, BTW, just what seems to happen). Are you in touch with your brother's doc? Could he request the notes, then forward them (as part of his medical statement) to the insurance company?

Another thought- your brother's UK GP may be able to get them as well.
Really don't know if you can insist. probably not

SoupDragon Sun 24-Jul-05 20:18:32

Usually, when you take out an insurance policy you will have signed something giving the company access to your medical records (dredging up from old life insurance past!). I would have thought that the insurance company therefore already has your brother's premission to obtain medical ininformation about him.

Mosschops30 Sun 24-Jul-05 20:20:55

Message withdrawn

nooka Sun 24-Jul-05 21:26:28

You are very unlikely to be able to get your brother's records without his consent. The hospital where he is currently being treated can request them in order to assist with his treatment (that's why there is no consent required). His GP could request them for the same reason. The insurance company would have to have consent too (as you have found). There are quite strict rules about releasing personal information (all under Data Protection). I think the only people we release information to without consent is the police, and that's with quite a few checks. There may be some way you can get around this, due to your exeptional circumstances, but you will probably need to get hold of the head of medical records at the hospital and explain. I wouldn't advise you trying to insist! Good luck, and I hope that you get your brother back OK (I know it can be very expensive to transport people who need medical support).

Moomin Sun 24-Jul-05 21:37:42

Thanks all. Looking at the advice so far I decided to phone manchester again and ask what the chances were of getting his records released. Spoke to a really nice nurse who told me the best bet is for the hospital he's in now to request the records by fax and they can then forward them to the insurance people. The first nurse I spoke to also asked what was wrong with db. I told him and he did that sucking air in through his teeth and said 'well he was a bit silly to fly out there then wasn't he?'!!!! I said, 'Yes well he was told he had mild pleurisy at your hospital!'. Nurse then just said 'oh dear.I'll just pass you onto my colleague...'!!!

Don't know why the insurance people couldn't work this out for themselves - to get the records via the Maldives hosp? IT's all very confusing and stressful... the insurance people are italian, db's gf is french and I'm sure we've all been misunderstanding one anohter all weekend. I hope it's all ok now and I can let them sort all the logistics out between themselves. I feel absolutely wrung out and exhausted.

Flossam Sun 24-Jul-05 22:04:28

Moomin, I was going to suggest that you tried to see if his current hospital could get hold of the records, but then started wondering about a whole variety of things, DS is being really unsettled tonight. Glad you have got it sorted. You are right the insurance people should have known these could be accessed there. Hope things go a bit more smoothly for you from now on.

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