Can I have access to my medical file?
As a patient, you have the right to access your health records. Here’s how:
- Request Access: Simply ask your GP at the reception to grant you access. While you can make the request verbally, it’s more common and suitable to do so in writing. You’ll be required to provide an acceptable photo ID, like a driver’s license or passport.
- How to Request Access: Contact the health service provider holding your health information. Only you or someone you’ve authorized can make the request.
- Provide Information: You may need to include your name, address, the specific health information you want, and how you prefer to access it (e.g., email, paper copies, or viewing). If you authorize someone else to access on your behalf, mention that.
- Response Time: The health service provider should respond within 30 days, which is considered a reasonable period.
- Possible Refusal: They can refuse in certain situations, like when it may threaten someone’s life, health, or safety, impact privacy, or be unlawful. They must provide a written notice explaining the refusal.
- Receiving Your Information: You can choose how you want to receive your health information, and if your request is unreasonable, they can provide it in an alternative way.
- Fees: There may be a fee, but it should not be excessive. It covers costs like searching for, reproducing, and sending the information.
- Changing Providers: If you’re switching providers, they may prefer to transfer your records to the new provider.
- Doctor Retired or Died: The retention of patient records depends on state or territory laws. In some cases, records may become the property of the doctor’s estate, and you may need to contact the executor for access. If the doctor used My Health Record, you might still access your records.
Understanding your rights and the process for accessing your health records is crucial for your healthcare journey.