- Whenever you go to see a doctor or nurse, or go to hospital, details of the visit and any advice and treatment will be recorded in your medical records
- Your medical information should be kept confidential
- You can have a say about who sees your medical records
Privacy is about having control over how much of yourself other people can find out about. One of the areas of your life where you might want privacy is around anything to do with your health. You may not want people, including your parents or carers, to know that you have been to see a doctor. It should be up to you who knows whether you have been to see a doctor and what you have discussed. Your right to privacy also covers your medical records – these are a record of every time you have been to see a doctor or been to hospital and the treatment you had or advice that was given. You should be able to decide who sees your medical records.
Your doctor has to keep anything you tell them private – although he or she will add details of your problem and any advice or treatment to your medical records. If you’re worried, you can tell the doctor that you don’t want him or her to tell anyone else without asking your permission.
Your doctor might suggest that you tell someone about what’s happening, so that you have the right support, but unless it’s an emergency, they can’t tell anyone without your permission.
If it is an emergency and the doctor thinks that you or someone else is in danger, the doctor can tell someone about what you’ve told them, without your permission. They might not tell your parent. The doctor might feel that they should tell a social worker or the police about something you have told them. The doctor has to decide whether telling someone else is more important that keeping the information confidential.
If you’re not old enough to make a decision about the treatment you need, someone else needs to make that decision for you, and give consent for the treatment. The doctors can’t go ahead with any treatment without ‘consent’ unless it’s an emergency.
Normally, your doctor will ask your parents or someone with parental responsibility to make a decision about your treatment and give consent for it to happen. To do this, they need information to make that decision. A doctor might decide that it is in your best interests to pass information on to your parents or carer so that they can make a decision about your treatment. They can do this even if you don’t agree, although the doctor should tell you that they are going to tell your parents.
Medical records are the details that are kept by doctors, nurses and other people involved in your medical treatment when you see them. . Your medical records will include things like whether you have any allergies, if you have ever broken any bones and any illnesses or treatment you have had before.
Different people involved in your treatment at different times can access your medical records and medical information. This means that a doctor can see what has happened to you in the past. By having all your medical records in one place, it means that doctors can take account of anything important that has happened in the past.
You can ask to see your medical records, and you should be able to see them. Doctors are allowed to keep back any information in your records which might cause you harm, or any information which is about someone else, unless that person agrees to you seeing the information. If you don’t have ‘capacity’, your parents can ask to see your medical records. The doctors should allow them to see the information unless it wouldn’t be in your best interests to see the information.
Your medical records are confidential which means they are private and only certain people can see them.
Doctors or nurses who are treating you can see your medical records – and it’s important that they do so that they make sure they give you the right treatment.
When you are very young, your parents or people with parental responsibility for you can see your medical records. Once you have capacity, you have the right to say who can see your medical records. This means that if you don’t want your parents or the person (or people) with parental responsibility for you to see them, you can say so.
We are very grateful to Irwin Mitchell Solicitors for generously giving their time and expertise to check the content of this section of the website. October 2018.