Subject Access Request (SAR)
Who Can Make an Access Request?
An application for access to personal data may be made to the Practice by any of the following:
- an individual
- a person authorised by the individual in writing to make the application on an individual’s behalf e.g. solicitor, family member, carer
- a person having parental responsibility for the individual where he/she is a child.
- a person appointed by a court to manage the affairs of an individual who is deemed incompetent
- individuals who hold a health and welfare Lasting Power of Attorney
- where the individual has died, the personal representative and any person who may have a claim arising out of the individual’s death (the executor of the deceased’s will; someone who has been appointed as an Administrator of the Estate by the Courts; someone who has the written consent of either of the above to be given access, someone who is in the process of challenging the deceased’s will)
Individuals wishing to exercise their right of access should:
- Make a written application to the Practice holding the records
- Provide such further information as the Practice may require to sufficiently identify the individual
The Practice as 'Data Controller' is responsible for ascertaining the purpose of the request and the manner in which the information is supplied.
Request form for Medical Records
Fees and Response Time
Under GDPR the Practice musts provide information free of charge. However a 'reasonable fee' may be charged when a request is manifestly unfounded or excessive, particularly if it is repetitive.
The fee must be based on the administrative cost of providing the information only.
The request must be complied with without delay and at least within one calendar month of receipt of the request. This period can be extended for a further two months where requests are complex or numerous, however the Practice must inform the individual within one month of receipt of the request and explain why the extension is necessary.
The identity of an individual who provided/recorded information should not be disclosed, nor should the identity of any other person/s referred to in the record(s) of the individual requesting access, unless explicit consent has been given.
Access may be denied or restricted where:
- The record contains information which relates to or identifies a third party that is not a care professional and has not consented to the disclosure. If possible, the individual should be provided with access to that part of the record which does not contain the third party information
- Access to all or part of the record will prejudice the carrying out of social work by reason of the fact that serious harm to the physical or mental well-being of the individual or any other person is likely. If possible the individual should be provided with access to that part of the record that does not post the risk of serious harm
- Access to all or part of the record will seriously harm the physical or mental well-being of the individual or any other person. If possible the individual should be provided with access to that part of the record that does not pose the risk of serious harm
- If an assessment identifies that to comply with a SAR would involve disproportionate effort under section 8(2)(a) of the Data Protection Act There is no requirement to disclose to the applicant the fact that certain information may have been withheld.
Complaints and Appeals
The applicant has the right to appeal against the decision of the Practice to refuse access to their information. This appeal should be made to the Business Manager on firstname.lastname@example.org or via the practices’ address.
If an applicant is unhappy with the outcome of their access request, the following complaints channels should be offered:
- meet with the applicant to resolve the complaint locally
- Advise a patient to make a complaint through the complaint’s process
- Advise a member of staff to consult with their trade union representative
If individuals remain unhappy with the Practice response, they have the right to appeal to the Information Commissioner’s Office:
Information Commissioner’s Office
Telephone: 0303 123 1113