Patients and visitors
Health records (also known as patient or medical records) are a log of your health and the treatment you have received from the NHS. We hold this information to ensure you receive the best possible care now and in the future.
How your health records are used
Your health records are used to ensure that your clinical needs are met and that you receive the right treatment and care.
Your records are strictly confidential. Everyone working for the NHS has a legal duty to maintain patient confidentiality.
Some anonymous information from health records may be used for training and educating our clinical staff, carrying out medical and other health research and for planning of future NHS services. However, your personal details will be kept private.
Accessing your health records
All applications to see your Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust health records must be made in writing either by completing our application for health records form, by email, or by post.
Should you wish to access your x-rays or other images, please make your request in writing by completing the application for x-rays form, by email or by post.
Requests for health records should be emailed to: IMPERIAL.ACCESSTOHEALTHRECORDS@NHS.NET
Requests for x-rays should be emailed to: IMPERIAL.IMAGINGCDREQUEST@NHS.NET
Letters should be addressed to: Access to Health Records, Health Records Department, Hammersmith Hospital, Du Cane Road, London W12 0HS.
What to include in your health record request
Please specify the information you wish to be made available to you including the hospital/s you have attended, dates of attendance.
Please also ensure that you include proof of identity when you send your request: we require either a copy of a driving licence or passport, or two utility bills. The Trust has a duty to protect the confidentiality of your information and we will only provide the information relating to you if we are satisfied regarding your identity or you have provided your written consent to a third party.
How we respond to your health record request
We will normally respond within one month, however sometimes it may take longer than this to fulfil your request. Where this is the case we will notify you within one month to explain why it will take longer.
A copy of records will normally be provided free of charge. We may charge a fee for a repeat request for copies or where it will take a lot of time to complete the request. If this is the case we will inform you in advance.
Accessing your health records electronically
Patients can now request to access their records electronically via the Care Information Exchange. The Care Information Exchange is our patient portal which can also give you information such as test results and upcoming appointments. You can apply for a Care Information Exchange account at the same time as you make your request for your health records.
Records which cannot be provided electronically will be sent to you in paper format. Solicitors and other third parties will, where possible, be provided with information electronically via password protected files.
Withheld information in your health records
Under data protection legislation, there are certain circumstances where information may be withheld, for example where disclosing personal data would lead to the identification of another individual’s information.
Correcting or erasing information in your health records
You can request for inaccurate information to be corrected. The right to erasure however is not absolute and only applies in certain circumstances. Requests will be considered on a case by case basis.
Accessing other people's health records
You are not permitted to access other people's health records without their written consent and you may be required to provide additional supporting information.
We may be able to give you information relating to another person if:
- they have consented to release information to you
- you have legal parental responsibility, or have been appointed by the court to manage their affairs when they are unable to do so, for example through power of attorney
In the case of children, if it is considered that they understand the reason for the application then their consent may be required.
Accessing the health records of people who have died
We are allowed to release the health records of a patient who has died in certain circumstances only.
The patient's personal representative (such as the executor or administrator of their will) and any person who may have a claim arising out of the patient's death may apply for access to the health records by completing an application form for health records (deceased) or writing to the address above. We will require proof of identity and supporting documentation as set out on the application form.
These requests will be assessed on a case by case basis. If you have enquiries around what types of supporting information or identification is required, please contact us on 020 3313 3112 for assistance.
It may take us up to 40 days to respond to requests for records of deceased individuals.
If you are unhappy with any aspect of the way in which we deal with your request, you may complain in writing to the Information Commissioner at:
The Office of the Information Commissioner
Your NHS number
Everyone registered with the NHS in England and Wales has their own unique NHS number.
Your NHS number helps healthcare staff to identify you correctly, find your patient records and ensures the safety of your healthcare.
Your NHS number is printed on the medical card given to you when you register with a GP practice. Each NHS number is made up of ten digits, as shown in this example: 450 557 7104.
How we protect your information
You can find out more about how we collect, use and keep secure information about your care on our privacy page.
Providing care across north west London
Our staff are increasingly working with other health and social care professionals in north west London to provide care. Staff involved in your care need to be able to see relevant information about you, so we are sharing information with health and social care organisations in north west London as required. This information can include your NHS number, age, contact details, next of kin, medication and allergies, appointments, treatment and care, and test results such as blood tests, laboratory tests, and X-rays. This will ensure when you visit your GP practice, the hospital, or get support in your community or at home, your care professional will have the right information about you at the right time.
For example, we are starting to share our Cerner electronic patient record system with Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, which includes Chelsea and Westminster Hospital and West Middlesex University Hospital. Let’s say you are treated at one of our hospitals and at West Middlesex. Your clinical teams will see information that has been collected about you at both trusts. Only staff involved in your direct care will look at your record. And they will have a more complete picture of your health when they make decisions about your care.
We will share your information with health and social care organisations who are involved in looking after you, unless you ask us not to. This is known as “implied consent”. If you would like to opt out of sharing your information with other health and social care organisations, or if you have any questions or concerns, please speak to your clinician or contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service.
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