Damages for distress caused by incorrect medical records
The Data Protection Act 1998 gives us all the right to access and see personal information which is held by public authorities and private bodies and this includes medical records. If, on review of your health records, you see a factual inaccuracy then you should request an amendment. It is, however, the case that the complaint must relate to a factual inaccuracy rather than a dispute over opinion.
Where there is inaccurate information then it is often possible to agree that an amendment should be inserted. If agreement cannot be reached then at the very least your concerns should be noted and placed on your file. There will, however, be circumstances where the information is so inaccurate, or simply wrong, that it causes prejudice to you and as such needs to be deleted entirely from your notes. It is possible under the Data Protection Act for Health Authorities to remove data where it is accepted that it is wholly inaccurate, albeit in some circumstances an application may need to be made to the Court for an Order that the entry is deleted from your medical records.
By way of example Jefferies has recently been instructed by a young mother who found that her notes had been mixed up with another patient. This meant that there was a suggestion within her medical records that she was a drug user which may well have affected the health of her new born son. This has caused considerable distress and anxiety and regrettably it has taken our intervention to persuade the Trust that, in these circumstances, they do have the ability to completely remove the entries. We were also able to obtain substantial damages for our client.
If you are concerned that your medical records contain incorrect information which has caused you harm, then please do not hesitate to contact our Personal Injury Team who may be able to explain how best to approach the Trust for your medical records to be amended or ultimately to issue proceedings on your behalf for the necessary Court Order.
Our Personal Injury Team are here to help on 01702 443472.