Access to Medical Notes in Hospital plus other qs

1st question (Ok - first 4 questions :stuck_out_tongue: ), so I hope I am in the right forum.

My caree (8x relative) is currently in hospital, with a test done yesterday and a potential serious operation in the next few days. So as the Carer I asked the nurse on the ward to see the medical notes, to be told ‘we do not allow that, you ask us questions and we answer, and there is a process for getting a copy of the notes’. (The “process” referred to is the DPA Subject Access Request process, which takes a month - useless in the circs).

Following the test, the results of which neither me not caree has been shown, there is a ward round this AM with the big Consultant to discuss next steps. I was informed that relatives are not allowed into these consultations.

I only started getting any response when I pointed out that I have a registered Lasting Power of Attorney (Medical), and I am the one who has to make the decision.

I have a chronic condition myself - T1D - plus a couple of other conditions that came and have now gone for some years (asthma, ibd), and for 20 years on half a dozen admissions I have just read all the notes about me in the hospital file with no questions ever asked.

There’s a further issue that I have been told that the wards are segregated by gender, so I have to wait in reception for hours and be called, and cannot be with my caree due to my sex.

(To be fair it is a general ward and my caree has been moved to where the consultant’s round is programmed, so perhaps the nurse is a little less knowledgeable on some of this stuff.)

So my Qs:

1 - Do I have a right to see the medical notes during treatment? Patients Charter etc talk about access to information to inform decisions etc, but in nebulous-ese.
2 - How on earth am I supposed to give informed consent without seeing the relevant notes, or even the report of the test?
3 - If I give them a letter stating that myself and my sibling have Power of Attorney can I make sure that that gets into the file? That is to head off at the pass any possible decision to proceed without due consideration.
4 - Do I have to take the written Lasting Power of Attorney with me? If not, will they say “you can’t prove it”, and proceed anyway?

All comments welcome. Thanks in advance.




Do you have a “Health and Welfare” Power of Attorney, or one of the older type?

I’m sure Chris, another very active forum member, will be along presently with more facts about your rights to information in hospitals.

Personally, I’ve had a lot of rubbish from ignorant hospital staff - once having to come home early when on holiday with my brain damaged son - when they refused to tell me on the phone why mum had been admitted to Royal Bournemouth Hospital, although they had all my contact details AND knew I had POA!

In your situation I’d ring the hospital, ask to speak to the CEO (which in practice takes you to his or her PA) and then say I’m making “an urgent formal complaint”. If you know the name of the member of staff who is being so obstructive, tell them who it was. Usually, the CEO kicks bottoms down the line, and in fear of promotion prospects being damaged if there is a black mark on their records, they often quickly change their minds!

If it’s a female ward, that doesn’t mean all men are forbidden at all times.

As a carer, you should not be tied to visiting times, you should be allowed to visit outside those hours, as long as you understand that where intimate care or medical procedures are taking place, you may have to wait a few minutes.

After all, they need your help and co operation of they want their bed back as quickly as possible. Maybe remind them that although you are a carer, you can withdraw that care at any time, and as the patient is living in YOUR home, they have NO RIGHT TO RETURN THERE!!!


I’m sure Chris, another very active forum member, will be along presently with more facts about your rights to information in hospitals. >

Using NHS HOSPITALS ACCESS TO MEDICAL RECORDS as a starting point … the NHS itself :

Can I access someone else's medical records (health records)? - NHS

A snippet :

Can I access someone else’s medical records (health records) ?

Health records are confidential so you can only access someone else’s records if you’re authorised to do so.

To access someone else’s health records, you must :

be acting on their behalf with their consent, or
have legal authority to make decisions on their behalf (power of attorney), or
have another legal basis for access

Make a SAR. Is there a way to attend the consultation or not? As the relative you are allowed to read the medical records of your cared for person. I have a huge folder on my living room cabinet full of my son’s medical records.

Have you asked about a carers passport?

“A Carer Passport in a hospital is a simple tool which identifies someone as being in a caring role for one of the hospital’s patients, involving them more fully in the patient’s care, and connecting them with further support.”

The one at my hospital enabled you to see your caree at other hours apart from visiting hours, free car park parking, discounts on meals at the hospital restaurant and other perks.