Supporting information as part of your Subject Access Request (SAR)

This web page has been desigend to provide further important supporting information in relation to your Subject Access Request (SAR) or Access to Health Records (ATHR) Request under the Data Protection Act 2018 and Access to Health Records Act 1990. Please read this carefully as part of your application before contacting us.

What record checks we make and disclose

Please be aware that information disclosed by the Trust is often in PDF format combined and you may notice that the page numbering is not sequential within the information provided to you, this is an idiosyncrasy of our system. It is not indicative that pages relevant to the disclosure have been omitted or removed. It is due to information being combined from various sources into one combiend PDF.

Please note patient records may be held on a number of systems.  Some of these are old systems for which we do not have the ability to perform routine linked searches.  Due to this we cannot 100% guarantee that we can locate all information we hold about you.

We will however routinely disclose records from our main patient systems as below.  These have been used for many years and are nearly always sufficient to support any legal claims or for other legal purposes.  However, if upon receipt of records you are concerned that records appear to be missing from an individual department or episode of care and you were expecting this, please do not hesitate to contact us and we will do our best to source and supply this.

  • Medway Patient Administration System (PAS)
  • Emergency Department System (ED)
  • Picture Archiving Communications System (PACS)
  • Unity – Digital Health Record (DHR)
  • Nerve Centre (e-Observations) (if specified within the request)
  • Paper records where in existence

How to view your scans (Radiology Imaging)

Your scans (known as Radiology imaging) needs a specific type of image viewer to view the images you may have recieved as part of your Subject Access Reqeust (SAR).

While there is viewer included within the download package you have received it will only work on Windows or a Mac and requires Java to be installed on your computer to run.

There are many freely available downloadable programs/apps on the internet which can be used on Windows, macOS and Linux which do not have the requirements of the included viewer.  The below guide is for one example of a free app (Weasis) that can be used to view your scans:

The Weasis DICOM Medical Viewer is available for Windows, macOS and Linux and can be downloaded from:

The Trust does not endorse the following Mobile Apps or take any responsiblity for them but individually we kindly signpost you to some mobile apps that should also read the files used at your own descretion.

The IDV IMAIOS DICOM Viewer is available from both Google Play and Apple App Store to but are not endorsed by the Trust and downloading these apps is at your own discretion and responsibility.

How to make a complaint

If you wish to complain about any aspect of the manner in which your access request was handled, in the first instance please follow the steps below:

If you are still not satisfied with the response you receive you may refer your complaint to the Information Commissioner if it is in relation how data is handled or proceeed within the Trust:

What identification do you need?

Please follow the Guidance on providing identification (ID) section on the Data Reqeusts and Your Privacy web page.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What constitutes a health record?

Health records consist of information relating to the physical and/or mental health condition of a patient created by a health care professional in connection with patient care. Health records consist of information in several formats including computer held information and paper records which have been scanned; records may include letters, charts, correspondence, out-patient and in-patient clinical notes etc. Some of our older records may still be held in their original paper format or on microfilm.

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

Please read the guidance from NHS here.

Who can submit a Subject Access Request?

Please read the guidance from the INformation Comissioner's Office (ICO) here. The Right of access applied to living data subjects / people.

What is the Access to Health Record Request?

The Access to Health Records Act 1990 is legislation that applies to records of deceased patients. Deceased patient’s personal representative(s) or a person who may have a claim arising from the patient’s death may apply for access to records under the provisions of the Access to Health Records Act 1990. You can also read the NHS Access to the health and care records of deceased here.

A Court appointed ‘personal representative’ of the deceased, executors and legal administrators of the deceased person’s estate have a right to request access to relevant health records under the Access to Health Records Act. If you are applying for records in this capacity, we require all applicants to provide appropriate documentary evidence of their appointment, such as Grant of Representation from the Probate Service, a Letter of Administration or a copy of the Will where the applicant is named as the Executor.

‘Anyone else’ who applies for disclosure of records for deceased patients under the Access to Health Records Act must provide adequate evidence that ‘they have a claim arising from a patient’s death’ and therefore that they have a legal right of access under the Act. A copy of a claim instruction from a Solicitor, or evidence of a legal challenge of me mental capacity or similar document will usually be sufficient. Requests must be made in writing.

How long will it take?

For living patients, in accordance with legislation The Trust will aim to provide copies of records within 1 month and this is calculated from receipt of a satisfactorily completed application and identification verification. If your request is complex or a very large in quantity we may write to you to apply a time extension to your case. We will explain why this is necessary. The Trust under legislation can extend this by up to 2 months.

For deceased patients, in accordance with the AHRA, we will aim to provide copies of the records within 21 days where the record has been added to in the proceeding 40 days, and within 40 days if it has not been added to. We will advise you if there is any delay in meeting this timescale and explain why.

What about employment references?

Within the Data Protection Act Schedule 2, Part 4, Paragraph 24, Employment references both sent and received are exempt from subject access disclosure.  We are, therefore, unable to process your request further. You can find more informatino on the ICO's website below (under Confidential references):

What about children?

All individuals, including children, have the right of access to personal information; they also have a right to confidentiality. A child will not always be able to make their own request, therefore when we receive an application from, or on behalf of a child, it is our obligation to judge whether the child has the capacity to understand the nature of the request. The hospital is obliged to take a child’s view into consideration if they are competent:

  • Children aged 16–17 are regarded as having capacity and entitled to access their own personal information. Applications made on their behalf must be accompanied by their written consent.
  • If a child aged under 16 does understand the nature of the request, they are entitled to exercise their own right of access, and in those circumstances we will reply to the child directly and require their consent.
  • If the child does not understand, the person with parental responsibility is entitled to make a request and to receive a reply.

In all cases, the person with parental responsibility is only permitted to make such a request in the best interests of the child, not in their own interests.

The Children Act 1989 sets out who has parental responsibility and these include:
The child’s parents if married to each other at the time of conception or birth;

  • The child’s mother, but not father if they were not so married unless the father has acquired parental responsibility via a court order or a parental responsibility agreement or the couple subsequently marry;
  • The child’s legally appointed guardian – appointed either by a court or by a parent with parental responsibility in the event of their own death;
  • A person in whose favour a court has made a residence order concerning the child;
  • A local authority designated in a care order in respect of the child (but not where the child is being looked after under section 20 of the Children Act, also known as being ‘accommodated’ or in ‘voluntary care’);
  • A local authority or other authorised person who holds an emergency protection order in respect of the child.