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Requesting to see a health record

Under data protection laws, you have the right to request access to the information contained in your health record.

Current patients can ask a member of staff to make an appointment to view their health record.

Patients who are no longer in contact with us can still request access to their health record, but we will need some additional details in order to locate the records.

You will not be able to take away the original health record, but a copy can be made. This request will need to be put in writing. A member of staff can help with this if necessary.

We try to make sure any requests are dealt with within 21 days. By law we should provide these within one month of the request unless it is a complex request.

Legally we are able to withhold any parts of health records that, in our professional medical opinion, are likely to cause serious harm to the physical or mental health to the patient or any other person. To make a formal application, please complete the application form and send it to us.

Why we collect patient information

Healthcare professionals keep health records about the care and treatment of a patient in order to provide the best possible care. Health records may be stored in paper format or electronically and may include information such as:

  • Name; address; and date of birth
  • Next of kin or named emergency contacts
  • Appointments
  • Information about a patient's health; care plan; treatment and/or procedures and other relevant information to support the provision of health care
  • Test results – e.g. laboratory and X-ray results
  • Your eligibility to receive free NHS care

Health records are used to ensure:

  • There is a documented record of care
  • Healthcare professionals have accurate and up-to date information to help assess and decide on the care and treatments required
  • We are able to assess how well our patients have been looked after, including assessing health conditions against a set of factors to ensure patients are receiving the best possible care
  • Any concerns can be properly investigated in the case of a complaint or incident

Information is held for specified periods of time as set out in the Records Management Code of Practice for Health and Social Care.

A number of services provided by Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust are now using an electronic health record system called SystmOne.

Patient confidentiality and information security

  • By law everyone working for or on behalf of the NHS must respect patient confidentiality and keep patient information secure
  • We can provide assurance that the computer systems we use are subject to strict controls and only staff who are involved in a patient's care have access to those records
  • When we do share patient information we will only share information that is relevant and always use the most secure method available

Where patients are being cared for by one of our services using SystmOne, any other Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust service directly involved in the patient's care (accessing SystmOne) will also be able to access the health record on a need-to-know basis. Sharing this information between services means that our staff will be able to get up-to-date information about a patient's care and are able to treat them safely and efficiently. It also means that healthcare professionals do not have to keep asking patients the same questions.

Patient care may be provided through a multi-disciplinary care team. This might include people from other organisations such as general practice; social care; education; or other care organisations. We will inform you if this is the case.

Where we have the ability to share a patient's full health record with other healthcare professionals involved in a patient's care (such as another NHS services or the GP), we will ask permission to do so.

The GP, or other health professionals, may also ask whether a patient would like services at Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust to be able to view their health records when treating them.

Patients can change these sharing preferences at any time by discussing this with the health professional involved in their care.

Working with Sussex Health and Care Partnership

Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust is a key part of the Sussex Health and Care Partnership. Working with local councils, our focus is on improving health and care across the region.

Sussex Health and Care Partnership brings together 13 organisations into what is known as an integrated care system (ICS) and Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust is a key part of this partnership. The ICS works together, taking collective action to improve the health of local people, ensuring that health and care services are high-quality and making the most efficient use of our resources.

In doing so, there are a number of key initiatives involving the use and sharing of information. Details of these initiatives can be found on Sussex Health and Care Partnership's Digital Priorities webpage. Further information about how your data is used is also available within each initiative's page – My Health and Care Record, Plexus Care Record, and Sussex Integrated Data Set, which are all listed on the Digital Priorities webpage.

Get in touch

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Postal address:

Information Governance Team - Access to Records
Bramber Building
Brighton General Hospital
Elm Grove

Page last reviewed: 08 March 2024
Next review due: 08 September 2024