Hospitals and doctors’ offices in Ireland will give a person their medical records if they ask for them.
Mostly. Eventually. When they get to it. And, sometimes, if you pay them over €100 (for a large file).
But, like so much else in the legal world, there is a set of magic words you can incant to place a 40 day deadline on the delivery of your papers and limit the cost to €6.35.
You invoke the Data Protection Acts data access request procedure.
A sample letter is given on the Data Protection Commissioner’s site.
Here it is at the bottom of this post very very slightly amended.
Sign it. Print it. Put it in an envelope with a bank draft, cheque or postal order for €6.35 and post it in a post office. You don’t have to pay for registered post. Just ask at the counter for a Certificate of Posting, which is free.
Keep the Certificate somewhere safe and then put a reminder in your diary to write again demanding a response if you haven’t got your papers within 40 days.
Our experience suggests, you will have them.
Any Medical Negligence case we take on will start with a request of this sort but you might have your own reasons for looking for your file.
It is your personal data.
The Data Protection Officer
<<The Hospital or Doctor’s Address>>
Re: Data Access Request from <<Your Name>>
DOB: <<Your Date of Birth>>
I wish to make an access request under the Data Protection Acts 1988 and 2003 for a copy of any information you keep about me, on computer or in manual form. I am making this request under section 4 of the Data Protection Acts.
I enclose a cheque for €6.35, being the maximum fee possible for such a request.
Please send all replies, including copies of all data to me at my above address.
It’s still free to request information from public bodies under the FOI Act, though – does this not have to be provided within 20 working days? Is there any reason why this should be less likely to produce results than the DP Act?
Does the law require me to sign the data request by hand or can I just write my name on it and print it out?
I used this form to request my file from 2 hospitals and my gp surgery. It worked very well. Thanks for providing the information above.
Hi Elaine, did the hospitals provide an actual copy of your medical file or just access to it to read?