Home > Parent's Rights > Accessing Your Child's Medical Records: Your Rights

Accessing Your Child's Medical Records: Your Rights

By: Elizabeth Mugan BA/BSc, PGDipLaw, BVC, CIArb - Updated: 24 Mar 2017 |
 
Child Children Medical Records

As a loving parent, there may be times when you wish to see your child's medical records. There are two different scenarios as to when this might occur:

  • If you are separated from the mother/father of your child and are not aware of their full medical information but would like to be; or
  • You believe that your child has been seen by a doctor without you being present and you are worried for their health and well being.
In both of these scenarios, you will want to know whether you are entitled, as a parent, to know this information.

Do Parents Have the Right to See Their Children’s Medical Records?

If your child is under the age of sixteen then you may be able to see your child's medical records. Firstly, you must have Parental Responsibility for your child. If so, you can apply to a health professional for information and they must provide it. If you wish to see a GP or other medical practitioner, they are obligated to see you and to discuss matters relating to your child's health. If you contact the medical practice and are having difficulty with access, then it is best to put your request in writing.

Do You Have Parental Responsibility?

If you are the birth mother of your child, then you naturally have Parental Responsibility. If you are a father, however, you may not have Parental Responsibility. You may have it if you were married to the mother of the child at the time of the birth or through one of the following:
  • The mother has agreed that you have Parental Responsibility;
  • You have been granted a Parental Responsibility Order by the Courts; or
  • You jointly registered the birth of your child with the mother (after 01 December 2003).

Can You Be Refused Information?

The answer is yes. If it is considered in their best interests to share information with you and if the child is considered too young to understand your application, then the health professional will usually share information. They can only pass information on to you if they have your child's consent.

If, therefore, you child is a teenager and they have asked the doctor something that they wish to be treated in confidence, then you will not be informed upon request. There are teenagers who wish to talk to their doctors about matters concerning them such as birth control, without their parents knowing.

They may also refuse information if they believe that their patient will suffer serious harm to their physical or mental well being or to any other individual. Other scenarios may include where your child's information contains further information about another individual and upon revealing your child's information, the other individual's right to confidentiality could be trespassed.

How Should You Approach a Health Professional for Information?

If you try to contact you GP or any other health professional and are unsuccessful, then the best way to make a formal request is to put it in writing. If you include a copy of your Parental Responsibility Order or marriage certificate, or your child's birth certificate with your name on it (after 01 December 2003 if you are named as the father), then this might speed up the process. If you do not include this, then you may be asked to provide it at a later date.

What Can You Do If Your Request Is Refused?

As detailed above, there may actually be a really good reason as to why your request for information has been refused, though perhaps, as a concerned parent or guardian, you may not agree. If you are really concerned, you should ask the professional how you can make a complaint.

The first person to complain to is the General Practice Manager. If this does not work, then you may wish to apply to the Information Commissioner or to the Local Area Health Authority, if you wish to access records, which have been refused.

What About If You Do Not Know Who Your Child's Doctor Is?

If you are unable to find out who your child's doctor is, for example, their other parent has not told you, then you can contact the Primary Care Trust or your Local Area Health Authority (the Local Authority in which your child resides) to ask for the details.

You must make a request in writing, again making sure that you include proof of your Parental Responsibility.

In summary, it is understandable that as a worried parent, you want to know all about your child's life. For younger children, it is important for you to be highly involved in their health. It is important, however, to remember that a health professional has an overall duty to do what is in the best interests of their patient and sometimes that means keeping their information confidential.

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Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
My daughter is 11 years old & we live in England.At what age is it legally acceptable for a child to see a gp without a parent present
Sarah - 24-Mar-17 @ 8:12 PM
Pinkey878 - Your Question:
Hi my 9 yrs old boy has been very poorly with what waa first thought was a quinzzy his had been on antibiotics for well over 95 days no improvement what so ever part of his tonsil has complety taken over half his throat he can eat only drinking small sips he has been like this for 6 months I want too see his notes as iam putting a complaint in regarding his care how do I go about this please

Our Response:
Please follow the steps in the above article.
LawAndParents - 23-Feb-17 @ 12:24 PM
Hi my 9 yrs old boy has been very poorly with what waa first thought was a quinzzy his had been on antibiotics for well over 95 days no improvement what so ever part of his tonsil has complety taken over half his throat he can eat only drinking small sips he has been like this for 6 months I want too see his notes as iam putting a complaint in regarding his care how do I go about this please
Pinkey878 - 22-Feb-17 @ 11:32 AM
Where do I go to obtain my children's medical records in Dallas tx
Flo - 6-Jan-17 @ 3:33 PM
My ex and I have separated. Our child lives with me. A doctors surgery has let him have access to our child's medical records but I refused to sign the form. I have nothing to hide but we departed ways because he was controlling. He has forged my signature. If he entitled to view the medical records?
Charlie - 23-Dec-16 @ 6:50 AM
I had twin boys premature who is currently in hospital. They are 4 weeks and 1 day. I am with there father. Do I have rights to see there records as I was reading them tonight and I got told that we are not allowed access to see the records even though they are on a shelf at the end of there incubators?
Sophie - 21-Oct-16 @ 2:03 AM
My son was adopted over 20 years ago. He is one of a twin both twins are disabled. My son was starved of oxygen during the birthing process we took the health authority to court but unfortunately lost. I would like to access his passed medical records would this still be possible even though I am.no longer his legal guardian.
Bondie - 17-Oct-16 @ 7:29 PM
Hi can a primary school make me give concent to get my daughters medical records even though I've given evidence of going to the doctors by getting the doctor to print of the consultation?I feel as if I'm being bullied and they are not believing me when my daughter has time off ! I just want to make sure when I tell them no that I won't get into trouble
kimgibbs78 - 15-Oct-16 @ 5:35 PM
I have a 14 year Daughter who is autistic and unable to say yes or no let alone understand about medical record we have asked by letter for just two bits of information but it would be nice to now all of what they have but; They are refusing this information saying we will have to pay first time said £30.00-then £20.00 then saying £10.00do we have to pay for anything to find out: 1) when she was last seen by the GP: 2) and by whom which GP was as we belong to a multi doctor sergey some times changing from month to month i think it is unreasonable to ask for money for just two bits of info is it legal to do so.
Stoney - 23-Sep-16 @ 7:23 PM
none - Your Question:
My son is unable to comunicate because of brain damage. I'm next of kin. Have I got thenough right to see all his medical recorder

Our Response:
No an next of kin has no automatic rights of access to medical records.
LawAndParents - 2-Aug-16 @ 12:26 PM
My son is unable to comunicate because of brain damage. I'm next of kin. Have I got thenough right to see all his medical records
none - 1-Aug-16 @ 8:23 PM
Distresseddad - Your Question:
My daughter was born in april of this year and has severe medical conditions has already had 2 major operations, she has now been discharged from hospital with her mother. Up until one week after discharge I had full access to my daughter and had authorised the surgeries,but her mother appears to suffering PND and has now refused me access sadly due to her complete lack desire to communicate I have had to use a solicitors to try gain contact. I have contacted my daughters GP and sent copy of my passport and the birth certificate to prove I have parental rights but it is now two weeks and I have not received any reply even a refusal. The practise manager stated on the phone she would have to seek my daughters mothers permission to give me access. I'm worried as my daughter is due further major surgery and I feel as though I am now being kept out of the loop despite having played a major role so far.

Our Response:
Because you have parental responsibility you have the right to request information about your child's health directly from health authority. Here is a template from the Separated Dads website which you might find useful:
I am writing to formally request copies of all medical information and data regarding my biological [son/daughter], [child name], including but not limited to:
Paperwork and records on all check-ups
Details of all inoculations and immunisations
Details of any and all treatment, including emergency treatment
Any other paperwork or documentation that has been sent to [child name mother] regarding [child name] medical treatment [any specific illnesses/treatment that you know about] [I have previously attempted to obtain details of [child name] medical history from [his/her] mother, without success. I do not want to continue to pursue this matter with [child’s mother] and have therefore decided to contact you directly.]
I have parental responsibility for [child name] and have the authority and right to be fully involved in making decisions about any potential medical treatment for [child name]. I can confirm that there is no legal court order in place preventing me from exercising my parental responsibility rights. [There is in fact a court order in place conferring parental responsibility upon me. I have included a copy of this for your information and records]. You therefore do not need permission from [child name] mother, [name], to provide me with a copy of [child name] medical records.
[Child name] health, safety, security and welfare is my paramount consideration and I want to and must be involved in any decisions regarding [his/her] medical treatment, should [he/she] need it in the future. I therefore ask that if in future, and decisions need to be made regarding medical treatment for [child name], you contact me so that I can assist in making the best decisions for [child name].
I also wish to be registered as an emergency / primary contact for [child name] on all NHS files and systems, should [his/her] mother be unavailable or unable to assist at short notice. My contact details are as follows:
LawAndParents - 15-Jul-16 @ 10:17 AM
My daughter was born in april of this year and has severe medical conditions has already had 2 major operations, she has now been discharged from hospital with her mother. Up until one week after discharge I had full access to my daughter and had authorised the surgeries,but her mother appears to suffering PND and has now refused me access sadly due to her complete lack desire to communicate I have had to use a solicitors to try gain contact. I have contacted my daughters GP and sent copy of my passport and the birth certificate to prove I have parental rights but it is now two weeks and I have not received any reply even a refusal. The practise manager stated on the phone she would have to seek my daughters mothers permission to give me access. I'm worried as my daughter is due further major surgery and I feel as though I am now being kept out of the loop despite having played a major role so far.
Distresseddad - 12-Jul-16 @ 1:19 PM
heaston - Your Question:
My daughter is 12.5 yes old. I filled in forms for both of us fir me to be able to book appts and have access to our records at our doctors. They are refusing me consent to her records without my daughters consent by saying they are following guidelines. I know there is nothing untoward or any reason for them to do this other than sheer stupidity. She is 12! I shouldnt need her consent to see anything, she is a minor. Where do I stand please?

Our Response:
Yes they can ask your daughter to consent before you can have access to her medical recordsworks. The GMC guidance is as follows: "You should let parents access their child’s medical records if the child or young person consents, or lacks capacity, and it does not go against the child’s best interests. If the records contain information given by the child or young person in confidence you should not normally disclose the information without their consent"
LawAndParents - 6-Jul-16 @ 10:37 AM
My daughter is 12.5 yes old. I filled in forms for both of us fir me to be able to book appts and have access to our records at our doctors. They are refusing me consent to her records without my daughters consent by saying they are following guidelines. I know there is nothing untoward or any reason for them to do this other than sheer stupidity. She is 12! I shouldnt need her consent to see anything, she is a minor. Where do I stand please?
heaston - 5-Jul-16 @ 10:35 AM
Beck - Your Question:
My 15 year old son wants me to make him an appointment with our gp, he won't tell me why and doesn't want me to go with him. I am very concerned as he has become very secretive and withdrawn. He starts his exams in a few weeks and seems stressed.What rights do I have as his mother to find out what is wrong and why he wants to see a doctor?

Our Response:
No if your teenager wants to see the doctor about something that they wish to be treated in confidence, then your doctor is under no obligation to inform you. As the article above states: "The doctor can also refuse information if they believe that their patient will suffer serious harm to their physical or mental well being or to any other individual. Other scenarios may include where your child's information contains further information about another individual and upon revealing your child's information, the other individual's right to confidentiality could be trespassed."
LawAndParents - 28-Apr-16 @ 10:36 AM
My 15 year old son wants me to make him an appointment with our gp, he won't tell me why and doesn't want me to go with him. I am very concerned as he has become very secretive and withdrawn. He starts his exams in a few weeks and seems stressed. What rights do I have as his mother to find out what is wrong and why he wants to see a doctor?
Beck - 27-Apr-16 @ 11:04 AM
Hereweareagain... - Your Question:
I'm concerned that my wife is overpathologising our children (ages 6 and 7). They have been to children's A&E many many times since they were born. Sometimes, this has been for good cause - children get ill and have accidents, but on other occasions the ailment has been self-limiting. My wife has also expressed concern that my son and daughter have other medical conditions such as Tourette's and Seasonal Affective Disorder. In any case, there always seems to be something 'wrong' with their health when overall, they are actually in good health and nothing is wrong with them. My concerns are twofold. Firstly, that this continued medical attention is distressing our children and will continue indefinitely. Secondly, that this continuing pathologising of their lives and continuing hospital visits/stays are perhaps symptomatic of an underlying issue with my wife. I have alluded to my concerns but I don't think my wife would listen or accept with an open mind without feeling like I'm somehow 'blaming' her or take my concerns on board. I'm happy to take my own personal concerns out of the equation and be proven wrong - in which case, the problem may well be with me!Having access to a definitive and authoritative medical record would help clarify this. I am married and their biological father. Can I obtain a record or access their medical records. Do I have sufficient grounds/rights?

Our Response:
You have the same rights as your wife to see your children's medical records. If you're still married and living with your wife, you could offer to accompany her on some of the hospital/doctor visits. That way you could have a quiet word with the medical staff who may be able to give you some advice.
LawAndParents - 7-Mar-16 @ 11:16 AM
I'm concerned that my wife is overpathologising our children (ages 6 and 7). They have been to children's A&E many many times since they were born. Sometimes, this has been for good cause - children get ill and have accidents, but on other occasions the ailment has been self-limiting. My wife has also expressed concern that my son and daughter have other medical conditions such as Tourette's and Seasonal Affective Disorder. In any case, there always seems to be something 'wrong' with their health when overall, they are actually in good health and nothing is wrong with them. My concerns are twofold. Firstly, that this continued medical attention is distressing our children and will continue indefinitely. Secondly, that this continuing pathologising of their lives and continuing hospital visits/stays are perhaps symptomatic of an underlying issue with my wife. I have alluded to my concerns but I don't think my wife would listen or accept with an open mind without feeling like I'm somehow 'blaming' her or take my concerns on board. I'm happy to take my own personal concerns out of the equation and be proven wrong - in which case, the problem may well be with me! Having access to a definitive and authoritative medical record would help clarify this. I am married and their biological father. Can I obtain a record or access their medical records. Do I have sufficient grounds/rights?
Hereweareagain... - 4-Mar-16 @ 6:48 AM
Hi. I was wondering what my rights as the mother, of accessing my childs medical records who's subject to long term Looked after child through the Local authority. My child has had long term emotional and behavioural difficulties and before he was taken, he had brain scans testing him for abnormalities like ADHD and Autism. Now I got what I presume, you'd call a report giving the all clear. Social services were involved at the time and my children on CP plan. After 5 yrs of, which he's been in foster care all that time, I'm getting told that CAMHS are thinking he's borderline ADHA, although, they haven't started working with him yet, and I have never been sent any appointment letters to attend the doctors with my son. I should be invited to all of his health appointments and feel I have the right to know whether my son is mentally and physically healthy. As does his father as he is named on his birth certificate. Which, by the way, we are not in possession off. I do believe that there has been a lot of untruths and information hidden from me, and I am genuinely concerned for my 10 year old son, who's lost 2 sisters and a brother through the system, he's not allowed contact with his father or siblings, only myself every three months. He has had numerous foster placements, in a special needs school and has a statement, as far as I've been told for, emotional and behavioural difficulties. I understand, as my son is in long term foster care, that I still have parental rights. A solicitors will not help me, I cannot get legal aid no. I feel it's vitally important, that as his mother who is hugely concerned for my son's mental and physical welfare, I have access to his medical records, I am concerned of the impact all this trauma is having on my son. My three other children, mentioned above, well they were all made subject to placements orders. All of them went to adopters but one returned to her previous foster carers after 5 months in her adoptive placement. She is almost 7 and as far as I'm aware, social services have kept her on a placement order, rather than revoking the order. I think the Local Authority would struggle to find a "so called" forever home, if one has already broken down. Before she went to her adoptive placement, her social worker told me, the doctor gave my daughter a diagnosis for ODD & ADHD, then later retracted it. What rights do I currently have for her? If anybody can give me a little advice of where I need to start to get all the information I'd like, to help my lost children of the system, it will be very much appreciated. Thank you A very, upset and concerned Mum
heartbroken - 22-Feb-16 @ 12:14 AM
Hello, My son is three months old and has been in hospital since birth. I asked the nurse to see his medical records. I was told the consultant would give me them. When the consultant arrived he stated he could not show me the records without a written request through a certain protocol and added the law here (Scotland) is different to England you don't have an automatic right to see your child's records. What are my rights here in Scotland are they different to England?
Tom620 - 20-Feb-16 @ 1:12 PM
my 2 nearly threeyear old lives with his mum and I think/know he has a eating disorder thats affecting his teeth and bad toilet troubles. iv asked his mum for details of doctor to discuss help and she refuses to give me information because shes ignoring the problem. can I get a visit for my son quicker than doing it in writing such as report her for ignoring his health problems,to get a health visit, as everyday I wait for writen response if refused its not getting any better and im sure he needs some sort of help. I have him every week but shes been rufusing to give me doctors information for six months if I ring the local provider can they make a visit to deal with the health n diet of my boy? im on birth certificate and he has my second name also.his mum has a seperate health visitor so unsure if that is why shes ignoring issue to prevent her "looking bad" ignores my opinion and I stay civil to see my boy but problem hasnt changed?who should I contact ?
k - 30-Dec-15 @ 8:44 PM
em - Your Question:
My sons dad was in hospital for a length of time and signed off work he would never tell me why and im concerned it maybe his mental health. Do I have any right to access his health records if I am concerned about my sons welfare and the fact the problems maybe passed on to him

Our Response:
No you cannot access his health records. Speak to him about this directly.
LawAndParents - 11-Dec-15 @ 11:54 AM
My sons dad was in hospital for a length of time and signed off work he would never tell me why and im concerned it maybe his mental health. Do i have any right to access his health records if i am concerned about my sons welfare and the fact the problems maybe passed on to him
em - 10-Dec-15 @ 12:35 PM
Peter - Your Question:
Hi there. My 6 week old daughter is currently in hospital due to pressure on the brain caused by her skull fusing together at the back.(which is causing her to be very lethargic and sickly),My wife asked one of the nurses if she could view our daughters notes as docs are coming and going but not really communicating with us directly. The nurse told her NO, it was against data protection. Surely as her parents and her being so young that we have a right to look at them notes, we have a 1 yr old who has been in and out of hospital due to breathing and reflux issues and it's never been an issue looking at her notes. Where do we stand now with our 6 week old. We'd just like to know what's being said and done, hope to hear back from you soon.Thank you.

Our Response:
Your request can be refused if the medical team feels they have good grounds to do so. Put your request in writing to the hospital manager/registrar formally as suggested in the article and you may be given some more information or reasons why the refusal is in place.
LawAndParents - 7-Dec-15 @ 12:40 PM
Hi there. My 6 week old daughter is currently in hospital due to pressure on the brain caused by her skull fusing together at the back.(which is causing her to be very lethargic and sickly), My wife asked one of the nurses if she could view our daughters notes as docs are coming and going but not really communicating with us directly. The nurse told her NO, it was against data protection. Surely as her parents and her being so young that we have a right to look at them notes, we have a 1 yr old who has been in and out of hospital due to breathing and reflux issues and it's never been an issue looking at her notes. Where do we stand now with our 6 week old. We'd just like to know what's being said and done, hope to hear back from you soon. Thank you...
Peter - 5-Dec-15 @ 2:42 PM
concerned brother/un - Your Question:
Hi,My sister lost custody of her son, who now lives with a legal guardian (his maternal grandmother). My sister is concerned about the amount of ill-health her son has had since living with his legal guardian. She still has parental responsibility. Would she be able to request to see his medical records?

Our Response:
We don't know enough about your sister's personal situation to be able to comment on this really.
LawAndParents - 16-Nov-15 @ 12:56 PM
Hi, My sister lost custody of her son, who now lives with a legal guardian (his maternal grandmother). My sister is concerned about the amount of ill-health her son has had since living with his legal guardian. She still has parental responsibility. Would she be able to request to see his medical records?
concerned brother/un - 14-Nov-15 @ 1:20 PM
Loving father- Your Question:
Hey there I'm a father of a 20 month old daughter I am on birth certificate I have been fighting for months to get my name on my daughters medical file I found the surgrey and for ages they been refusing me and my daughters mothers won't tell me much after writing back and forth they agreed to meet me but they said it will cost £40 for Drs file and £50 for a health visitor file are they allowed to charge me and all I want is to be put on my child's medical file in case something happens or information I need to know thanks

Our Response:
No you should not have to pay to be given health information about your child. Follow the steps in the above article. If they are still not budging seek advice from a legal professional or from Citizens' Advice about applying for a specific issue order via the courts.
LawAndParents - 21-Oct-15 @ 10:21 AM
Hey there I'm a father of a 20 month old daughter I am on birth certificate I have been fighting for months to get my name on my daughters medical file I found the surgrey and for ages they been refusing meand my daughters mothers won't tell me much after writing back and forth they agreed to meet me but they said it will cost £40 for Drs file and £50 for a health visitor file are they allowed to charge me and all I want is to be put on my child's medical file in case something happens or information I need to know thanks
Loving father - 20-Oct-15 @ 10:26 AM
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