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: 28 Jul 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]
Hannah - Your Question:
Glad I found this forum long story short but my daughter have been ill from day one from birth distress, to being in SCBU, being discharged with a collapsed upper lung lobe collapse (letter to prove) to being in intensive care for 12 weeks and a children's hospital for 9 months, in and out of our children's ward until she was ready and big enough for surgery for fundlopication and gastrostomy, all her tests revealed her acid levels were normal but they still said it was GERD she's still fed through a gastrostomy now and she will be 9 in December ?? I need advice on how I go about getting her medical records so I can compare and find out an actual diagnosis I have never been told about. Under a ENT specialist at the moment and still not getting any answers I need to know what is wrong with my own child and I feel I have no knowledge of anything. Thank you please get back in touch

Our Response:
There is information on how to obtain access to medical records on the NHS website here. You may need to consult a medical lawyer to help with accessing the documents, understanding them and taking action.
LawAndParents - 1-Aug-17 @ 2:27 PM
Glad I found this forum long story short but my daughter have been ill from day one from birth distress, to being in SCBU, being discharged with a collapsed upper lung lobe collapse (letter to prove) to being in intensive care for 12 weeks and a children's hospital for 9 months, in and out of our children's ward until she was ready and big enough for surgery for fundlopication and gastrostomy, all her tests revealed her acid levels were normal but they still said it was GERD she's still fed through a gastrostomy now and she will be 9 in December ?? I need advice on how I go about getting her medical records so I can compare and find out an actual diagnosis I have never been told about. Under a ENT specialist at the moment and still not getting any answers I need to know what is wrong with my own child and I feel I have no knowledge of anything. Thank you please get back in touch
Hannah - 28-Jul-17 @ 11:40 PM
I understand exactly where your coming from marky. I've been separated from my ex wife for over 3 years to discover my daughter is used for disability payments for global development delay . Through fighting thru the courts for access I've discovered that over these years she's usedevery organisation available without informing me . Recently I've been involved in a meeting with senco only to find there'snothing wrong with her . Which I knew anyway . At twelve years of age to be made to feel she has a problem just for financial gain is wrong on soo many levels . This will affect her for the rest of her life .
Booboo - 13-Jul-17 @ 8:12 PM
Marky - Your Question:
Hiya basically am abit concerned and I could be completely wrong about this but am not on my sons birth certificate which means am weeing in the wind when it comes to anything, I would like to know about my sons health record because sometimes it seems to me that am just getting told what I need to know as and when and am concerned because I think my sons mam is using him as a money making machine she has him down as ASD and disability but when I have him of a weekend his perfectly fine and full of life which has me concerned because when she gets money which is supposed to be for my child it seems to go on her not my son and when it does its small doses, like I said I might be completely wrong but how do I get my sons health record just to make sure his ok, thanks in regards

Our Response:
If you are the child's natural father but not on the birth certificate you can apply for parental responsibility by simply completing an application form if the mother consents. If you can't agree on arrangements you will need to apply via the courts using formC1
LawAndParents - 28-Jun-17 @ 11:48 AM
Hiya basically am abit concerned and I could be completely wrong about this but am not on my sons birth certificate which means am weeing in the wind when it comes to anything, I would like to know about my sons health record because sometimes it seems to me that am just getting told what I need to know as and when and am concerned because I think my sons mam is using him as a money making machine she has him down as ASDand disability but when I have him of a weekend his perfectly fine and full of life which has me concerned because when she gets money which is supposed to be for my child it seems to go on her not my son and when it does its small doses, like I said I might be completely wrong but how do I get my sons health record just to make sure his ok, thanks in regards
Marky - 26-Jun-17 @ 6:53 PM
Niki - Your Question:
My friends daughter is suffering with mental illness she's 13 and is experiencing psychosis. Her father also has severe mental health but won't disclose his diagnosis information as to weather its hereditary. Can my friend request his health records on behalf of the child for the purpose of hereditary evidence or does the father need to give consent? This has already been refused by him And she is desperately trying to find a way to help her child, there's also another younger child who too can be affected. Thank you to anyone with any information x

Our Response:
The father would usually need to give consent. We're guessing a court might be able to order him to allow access to the information but you should seek professional legal help really.
LawAndParents - 24-May-17 @ 11:32 AM
My friends daughter is suffering with mental illness she's 13 and is experiencing psychosis. Her father also has severe mental health but won't disclose his diagnosis information as to weather its hereditary. Can my friend request his health records on behalf of the child for the purpose of hereditary evidence or does the father need to give consent? This has already been refused by him And she is desperately trying to find a way to help her child, there's also another younger child who too can be affected. Thank you to anyone with any information x
Niki - 23-May-17 @ 12:25 AM
Ade - Your Question:
How do I request a copy of my 16year old sons medical records he has a diagnosis of autism and is transferring from dla to pip and I need records to send in as evidence

Our Response:
Write a note to your son's GP and/or hospital consultant asking for copies of any relevant information.
LawAndParents - 19-May-17 @ 2:35 PM
How do i request a copy of my 16year old sons medical records he has a diagnosis of autism and is transferring from dla to pip and i need records to send in as evidence
Ade - 18-May-17 @ 8:31 PM
Mrphil - Your Question:
My son has a dairy allergy and is on a strict diet. But I dont know what this diet consists of I dont know what hes allowed to eat or what he isnt allowed to and my ex wont give me a copy of his diet plan from the dietitian. my ex provides a packed lunch for when I see my son but I would like to take him to a restaurant from time to time. I fully understand he cant have anything containing milk. Can I get this information from sons gp

Our Response:
Yes if you have parental responsibility, you should be able to get this information from your son's GP. Sent in a formal letter, asking for information and stating that you are entitled to this because you have parental responsibility.
LawAndParents - 9-May-17 @ 10:41 AM
Darren - Your Question:
I requested to see my son's medical records in a formal request, I had already proved previously that I have full PR when I changed my son's name back to his original birth name as this was done without my consent and backing from court orders which also added proof to my PR and a re-registered birth certificate, they refused the request claiming it had to be written in legal paper to grant it, my son has ongoing problems and with constantly changing information from my ex I wanted to get to the source of it all and get accurate information instead so I know I'm doing the best I can for my son but now yet again I'm having to chase information that I should surely be legally entitled to see also my son has had previous problems aswell but was never mentioned to me until it was too late

Our Response:
You shouldn't need legal back up to get any basic information that the mother has access to. Here is a link to our sister site Separated Dads where this is a letter template to use
LawAndParents - 8-May-17 @ 11:11 AM
My son has a dairy allergy and is on a strict diet .But i dont know what this diet consists of i dont know what hes allowed to eat or what he isnt allowed to and my ex wont give me a copy of his diet plan from the dietitian. my ex provides a packed lunch for when i see my son but i would like to take him to a restaurant from time to time. I fully understand he cant have anything containing milk. Can i get this information from sons gp
Mrphil - 7-May-17 @ 2:50 PM
I requested to see my son's medical records in a formal request, i had already proved previously that I have full PR when I changed my son's name back to his original birth name as this was done without my consent and backing from court orders which also added proof to my PR and a re-registered birth certificate, they refused the request claiming it had to be written in legal paper to grant it, my son has ongoing problems and with constantly changing information from my ex I wanted to get to the source of it all and get accurate information instead so I know i'm doing the best i can for my son but now yet again I'm having to chase information that I should surely be legally entitled to see also my son has had previous problems aswell but was never mentioned to me until it was too late
Darren - 6-May-17 @ 11:53 AM
Lozadee - Your Question:
My son is 16 months with a 9 month history of illnesses and infections. I am at my witsend of being passed on doctor to doctor. Am I entitled to my sons notes? I would like to confirm the timeline of events, order of illnesses and dates ect.

Our Response:
Yes you can ask to see the medical records. Medical staff can only refuse if there's a really good reason as to why they should be kept from you.
LawAndParents - 10-Apr-17 @ 12:47 PM
My son is 16 months with a 9 month history of illnesses and infections. I am at my witsend of being passed on doctor to doctor. Am i entitled to my sons notes? I would like to confirm the timeline of events, order of illnesses and dates ect.
Lozadee - 7-Apr-17 @ 12:24 PM
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
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