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Getting copies of medical records from GP

JohnBoy63JohnBoy63 Member Posts: 6 Listener
Hi to all from the new 'kid'

Got my letter today for DLA to PIP.
Just rang my GP's receptionist to ask for copies of reports from hospitals and specialists over the last few years.
I've just today been able to access my records online, but stuff like that it doesn't allow me to see.
The receptionist says I have to fill out a form, provide ID and make 'specific' requests of each report.
I said I've seen that many over the years I have no idea of who, when, where.
As it happens, I've just finished filling in my sister's PIP form. She has MS amongst other things. 4 weeks ago I asked her to get 2 years of copies of her reports from her - different - surgery. She rang and asked at the morning and by the afternoon a small mountain of said reports were ready to collect.
I told the receptionist this and asked why they couldn't do the same.
She said the data laws had changed in the last 2 weeks and they can only supply specific reports.

Is this true?

She also said that DWP would ask them for the reports if they wanted them.
I said no they won't because they have to pay for them. They'll only go on what I put on the form without records and form their own 'opinion'.
And if DWP can ask for 'all' reports and not 'specific' why can't I?
Thanks.
John

Replies

  • wilkowilko Member Posts: 2,284 Disability Gamechanger
    @JohnBoy63, welcome to the community, so many people have their letters and reports from the hospital's they attended but they don't file them away and now like you need them and can not get hold of them easily. So s lesson to all keep your health letters and reports for future use send copies with your NI number written on each as for any additional information sheets.
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 142 Listener
    I’ve had no problem getting a supporting letter and copies of consultant letters from my GP. 
  • whistleswhistles Member Posts: 1,590 Disability Gamechanger
    No help because I actually didn't ask for any letters.
    But your point about the data protection is interesting. When someone called my surgery they only got told when I last visited and nothing else was on record, but maybe the data protection prevents anything else being disclosed?

    What's available online if it's no use? Not meaning to pry.
    Do not follow me, I don't know where I am going.
  • YadnadYadnad Posts: 2,856 Member
    wilko said:
    @JohnBoy63, welcome to the community, so many people have their letters and reports from the hospital's they attended but they don't file them away and now like you need them and can not get hold of them easily. So s lesson to all keep your health letters and reports for future use send copies with your NI number written on each as for any additional information sheets.
    I've never had reports of that nature from anybody. My problematic health issues date back to 1983 for some (spinal issues),1995 for others (mental health) and from 2004 for the rest (internal organ issues).
    So to suggest that because I don't have them so must have filed them away somewhere is wrong.

    Who keeps what I have no idea and I certainly haven't bothered my various GP's over the past 35 years to release them to me.
     
  • JohnBoy63JohnBoy63 Member Posts: 6 Listener
    Hello to you all.
    I've got sorted now.
    Even though the NHS site says we should be able to access hospital reports etc, online, my practice don't allow it?
    However, a very nice practice manager rang and explained we now have to make a Subject Access Request.
    I've got the form from them, You put in the dates/years you want to view records from/to, and the type, and they'll supply them.
    It says allow a month, but he said it won't take that long.
    It's free... but it says there's a charge if it's unfounded, excessive or repetitive...whatever that means.
    You're right about filing any reports, but like others I didn't get reports from every specialist I've seen over the years.
    Cheers to all.
    John
  • sue1965sue1965 Member Posts: 26 Connected
    I have just filled a form at my doctors requesting a patient summary, they told me I could request one that dates back 3 years or so but I could have a full summary which should go back many years. I have the full summary with me and due to changes by the government I didn`t have to pay. Hope this helps. God bless
  • TopkittenTopkitten Member Posts: 1,263 Pioneering
    I have almost all of the stuff I have received from the health services but mostly it comprises appointment information. I have never been provided with overall assessment reports or discharge information. I do have some carer information but that's all based on hearsay. I don't see most of it being useful.

    TK
    "I'm on the wrong side of heaven and the righteous side of hell" - from Wrong side of heaven by Five Finger Death Punch.
  • YadnadYadnad Posts: 2,856 Member
    edited June 2018
    Topkitten said:
    I have almost all of the stuff I have received from the health services but mostly it comprises appointment information. I have never been provided with overall assessment reports or discharge information. I do have some carer information but that's all based on hearsay. I don't see most of it being useful.

    TK
    From what I am reading, every time you see a consultant they will prepare a report into their findings, the difficulties that the patient faces and what further should be done.
    I'm with you, I haven't seen anything like this before although some people are saying that you get a copy of these reports.
    The only time that I found out that one had been sent to my GP from the Spinal Unit consultant, for example,  was when the GP confirmed to the DWP what the limit was as to my mobility - 10 metres which the assessor AND the DWP duly ignored as not being relevant - the DWP insisted that I could easily walk over 200 metres.
  • Pippa_AlumniPippa_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 5,851 Disability Gamechanger
    Welcome to the community, @JohnBoy63!

    Glad you've got this sorted, and all the best for your PIP assessment. If we can be of any assistance, please do let us know.
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 5,914 Disability Gamechanger
    edited June 2018
    JohnBoy63 said:
    Hi to all from the new 'kid'

    Got my letter today for DLA to PIP.
    Just rang my GP's receptionist to ask for copies of reports from hospitals and specialists over the last few years.
    I've just today been able to access my records online, but stuff like that it doesn't allow me to see.
    The receptionist says I have to fill out a form, provide ID and make 'specific' requests of each report.
    I said I've seen that many over the years I have no idea of who, when, where.
    As it happens, I've just finished filling in my sister's PIP form. She has MS amongst other things. 4 weeks ago I asked her to get 2 years of copies of her reports from her - different - surgery. She rang and asked at the morning and by the afternoon a small mountain of said reports were ready to collect.
    I told the receptionist this and asked why they couldn't do the same.
    She said the data laws had changed in the last 2 weeks and they can only supply specific reports.

    Is this true?

    She also said that DWP would ask them for the reports if they wanted them.
    I said no they won't because they have to pay for them. They'll only go on what I put on the form without records and form their own 'opinion'.
    And if DWP can ask for 'all' reports and not 'specific' why can't I?
    Thanks.
    John
    That is a complete misinterpretation of GDPR which impacts Data Protection and not Freedom of Information.
  • JohnBoy63JohnBoy63 Member Posts: 6 Listener
    Thanks for all of the comments.
    Now for an update -
    Filled in the said request form and handed it in over a week ago.
    Tuesday the practice manager rang and said I'd asked for a mountain of documents. Could I be more specific. They needed keywords to do a specific search.
    So yesterday I rang as many departments as I could for details of when and who I saw. Searched through all my calendar appointments etc. Handed in the revised list.
    Today mu GP rang me about another medical matter. She went on to ask about the records I'd asked for.
    I explained why I needed them.
    She said that if the DWP wanted more information before a face to face meeting, they write and ask for the GP's comments.
    She said the amount of stuff I'd asked for ran into hundreds of letters and reports, which would all need cross-referencing and reading to find the ones I wanted.
    This would take one office staff hours to do. I would then have to pay for their hourly rate plus printing expenses.
    I said according to the BMA it was free unless it was excessive. She said it was excessive and I'd have to pay - but didn't know how much.

    This is from the BMA site -
    A medical report/record that already exists will be accessible, for free, as an SAR. A ‘reasonable fee’ can be charged for SAR if the request is manifestly unfounded or excessive, however, these circumstances are likely to be rare. The GDPR does not provide more detail than this and as yet the ICO have not issued further guidance. We are in the process of seeking clarification from the ICO on what would constitute “manifestly unfounded or excessive” and will update this guidance once we have more details.

    This from the NHS site -

    There are a number of different types of health record, accessing them is free, and healthcare professionals have a legal requirement to allow you to see them.

    GP records

    GP records include information about your medication, allergies, vaccinations, previous illnesses and test results, hospital discharge summaries, appointment letters and referral letters.

    You can access your GP records, and nominate someone you trust to access them, through GP online services.

    No you can't, not with my practice... So I decided after all this to leave it, and hope that DWP do ask my GP for further information if my PIP claim fails.


    Regards,
    A deflated John
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 5,914 Disability Gamechanger
    As this is to do with conversion I’d ask yourself why you need these documents. Is your diagnosis or prognosis likely to be in dispute. The best evidence for PIP is anecdotal not medical.
  • JohnBoy63JohnBoy63 Member Posts: 6 Listener
    Hi.
    Not sure what you mean by conversion?
    And surely anecdotal evidence is just hearsay? I can tell them I've got whatever I want and give examples of problems, but without reports from consultants, scans etc it would be meaningless to the assessors.
    DLA is gone as far as they are concerned, and PIP is a clean sheet which gives them lots of new ways to stop your allowances. The figures speak for themselves.
    Anything you can do to back up your claims gives them less room to manoeuvre, which is why I'm asking for the evidence.

    This is advice from another site I visit concerning Q1 on the PIP form, asking which professionals are best to contact about your conditions -

    Bear in mind that Independent Assessment Services or Capita may never actually contact any of the people you list in this section.  So if you possibly can, get supporting evidence from them yourself and include it either with this form or at a later date
    regards,
    John
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 5,914 Disability Gamechanger
    JohnBoy63 said:
    Hi.
    Not sure what you mean by conversion?
    And surely anecdotal evidence is just hearsay? I can tell them I've got whatever I want and give examples of problems, but without reports from consultants, scans etc it would be meaningless to the assessors.
    DLA is gone as far as they are concerned, and PIP is a clean sheet which gives them lots of new ways to stop your allowances. The figures speak for themselves.
    Anything you can do to back up your claims gives them less room to manoeuvre, which is why I'm asking for the evidence.

    This is advice from another site I visit concerning Q1 on the PIP form, asking which professionals are best to contact about your conditions -

    Bear in mind that Independent Assessment Services or Capita may never actually contact any of the people you list in this section.  So if you possibly can, get supporting evidence from them yourself and include it either with this form or at a later date
    regards,
    John
    Conversion is the process of moving from DLA to PIP.

    The advice on the other site is absolutely correct but taken out of context. It’s talking about the need for you to provide evidence from professionals rather than expect DWP to get it. It’s not talking about whether that evidence is needed in the first place. So, to be clear.

    In social security the burden of proof falls on the claimant at the claim stage but you only need to prove things on the balance of probabilities rather than beyond reasonable doubt. If you say something which is not inconsistent and not inherently contradictory and for which there is no evidence against it then it has to be accepted as fact.

    That doesn’t mean you can say any old thing though. If you say “I fall a lot” that’s an unevidenced assertion and evidence of nothing. If you can vividly describe your last couple of falls - the when, where, how, why, witnesses, treatment, what happened next etc. - that is great anecdotal evidence. A GP or consultant can’t provide any of that other than in some mental health or learning disability cases. Has your GP seem you cook a meal; feed yourself; take your treatments; toilet; bathe; dress and so on? If for some reason they have then they may have something to contribute. If they haven’t then you’re potentially barking up the wrong tree. 

    You’re confusing anecdotal - the giving of detailed personal lived experience - with hearsay - the giving of a statement based on something of which you have no first hand knowledge. 

    It’s absolutely not the case that “anything” you can get to back up your case will help. Medical professionals can detail history, diagnosis, prognosis and treatment. If you can detail those yourself (and most can) and the DWP are not disputing any of those things then you literally gain nothing from that medical evidence because it’s talking about things which weren’t in dispute in the first place. 

    52% of disability benefit claims succeed without medical evidence. There’s a reason for that. The claimants concentrated on telling their story and giving examples rather than getting medical information for stuff not in dispute. There are multiple examples on here of claimants with loads of medical evidence who genuinely can’t see why their claim failed. One person cited 260+ documents. If you have 260 documents and all they say is that person x has y how does that help when DWP aren’t disputing that person x has y. They’re disputing whether the consequences of y score points. Further down the line it’s a great way to major life way harder for yourself if you need to appeal to a tribunal too. Tribunals read the papers in their own time for no pay. Who do you think wins? The case with 260+ documents saying pretty much the same thing or the person with loads of examples of how their condition has impacted them and scores points? 

    Apologies for the long post but I hope that explains it. 
  • TopkittenTopkitten Member Posts: 1,263 Pioneering
    Very concise explanation of a complex subject @mikehughescq, I'm sure it will help a lot of people.

    TK
    "I'm on the wrong side of heaven and the righteous side of hell" - from Wrong side of heaven by Five Finger Death Punch.
  • JohnBoy63JohnBoy63 Member Posts: 6 Listener
    Well, that certainly enlightened me!
    Thank you ever so much for explaining the intricacies of my post in a way that I, and many more, can understand.
    It all made sense when you laid it out.
    I'd go as far as to say yours is probably the clearest explanation in response to any post I've ever made.
    And that's not BS.
    Thanks again.
    regards
    John
  • YadnadYadnad Posts: 2,856 Member
    edited July 2018

     If you say something which is not inconsistent and not inherently contradictory and for which there is no evidence against it then it has to be accepted as fact. 
    A brilliant piece of work - a different view point from a WRO compared to how joe public sees it.

    I would however caution that the DWP/assessor actually do deny an illness beit medical or mental even if the they have no evidence to back up that denial. The refusal to accept that fact is due to the observations made by the assessor.

    Three times in my case they consistently denied that I have had a mental illness despite me telling them on the form what it was, what medication I was receiving for it, what treatment I have had, the fact that I had been sectioned and to top it all, the DWP should know from their records that I have been receiving IIDB purely for P.T.S.D & associated conditions since 1995! Currently I get a 40% award for life following one of their assessments just 2 years previous to the first PIP assessment.

    The PIP assessor's report clearly made issue by stating approx.14 one line statements during the PIP mental health part of the assessment which put together convinced the DWP that I was telling a tall story.

  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 5,914 Disability Gamechanger
    Hard to comment without seeing actual decisions (and I’m not asking to) but it’s often the case that claimants confuse DWP playing down the consequences of impairment with saying that a person is not impaired. The latter happens but rarely in my experience and especially rarely in the face of supporting medical evidence. Where they do so it’s either a **** up or a subtle way of inferring you may well have been misdiagnosed without actually saying so.

    I should also say that how the balance of probabilities works in theory compared to in practice is of course a mysterious thing. DWP case managers, decision makers and adjudicating officers do have a long and consistent history of shall we say not quite getting to grips with the basics :)
  • YadnadYadnad Posts: 2,856 Member
    Hard to comment without seeing actual decisions (and I’m not asking to) but it’s often the case that claimants confuse DWP playing down the consequences of impairment with saying that a person is not impaired. The latter happens but rarely in my experience and especially rarely in the face of supporting medical evidence. Where they do so it’s either a **** up or a subtle way of inferring you may well have been misdiagnosed without actually saying so.

    I should also say that how the balance of probabilities works in theory compared to in practice is of course a mysterious thing. DWP case managers, decision makers and adjudicating officers do have a long and consistent history of shall we say not quite getting to grips with the basics :)
    Thanks Mike, no I did not presume that you might want to view the decision.
    In my case it wasn't that they 'down played' the consequences of mental health but down right stated that there were no mental health problems. The assessor & the DWP seemingly ignored all of the diagnostic evidence submitted including their own office that deals  with IIDB in Bradford.

    My point was that the DWP do not always accept as fact that a condition exists especially where evidence is submitted. 

    The problem I faced was not just having to argue on the descriptors but to also go back to basics to try to prove that the illness actually existed.

    Not knowing how to do that given what I had already sent in, I disregarded the mental health aspect when putting in the MR. As for the second and third reviews I kept well away from mental health matters and made no mention of them on the forms based on the earlier experience.
      
  • WaylayWaylay Member Posts: 922 Pioneering
    @JohnBoy63 , @mikehughescq is a font of useful knowledge. 

    Take one of the tests online (like https://benefitsandwork.co.uk/personal-independence-payment-pip/pip-self-test) to see what points you might get. You're unlikely to get exactly those points, but it'll give you an idea of what you should fight for. 

    Take a look at the questions, and look at each descriptor. Can you chop up meat and veg and cook it on a hob? No? Why not? How about a microwave? Do you use any aids? Can you stand for long enough to cook? Are you too anxious to cook? Are you in danger of an epileptic seizure which would be dangerous, so you need supervision? Have you burned food because you forgot you were cooking, and does this happen a lot? Explain. Tell them the story about that time you stabbed yourself with a potato peeler, if it supports you. If you *do* have medical evidence, cite it: this report, this page, that paragraph, talks about the time I stabbed myself with the potato peeler and had to go to A&E. If your kid, or your carer, or your friend can write something about how often they cook for you, or how dangerous you are in the kitchen, great. Explain how each of your conditions (or just one, if that's what you have) affects each of the questions they ask. 

    If you can get help with filling in the form (CAB, Welfare Rights), awesome. If not, we can help, and there are guides on the web we can direct you to. 

    Er… Right. Anxious (so hyperactive) and slightly drunk (so wordy). Hope that helps.


  • JohnBoy63JohnBoy63 Member Posts: 6 Listener
    Thanks for that, Waylay, but I joined the Benefits & Work website years ago. I've paid for their guide to filling in the PIP form. It's about 90 pages explaining every aspect of answering the 15 PIP questions. Quite daunting for a lot of people I would expect but I'm finding my way through it bit by bit. It's frightening when you get to see what they really mean in the way they ask the questions, as shown in extracts from the 'bible' the DWP gives to ATOS and IAS to work from.
    I also took the self-test and had to stop myself shouting Bingo I got that many points. Whether the DWP see it that way is a different matter.

    Update on the medical records -
    A lady from admin at my GP's rang me last Friday. She said all the records I'd asked for were ready to collect!?
    I asked how come, as my GP said it would cost me a great deal of money to get them, so I'd said not to bother.
    She said exactly the same thing as I posted earlier - looking into it, we've found SAR requests are free under most circumstances, so there's no charge... on this occasion.
    So, I'll send them the records and quote from them, as Waylay suggested, then there's no need for them to spend ages trawling through them, because as Mikehughescq said, they probably just wouldn't bother.

    All the best and many thanks to all who posted,
    regards,
    John
  • WaylayWaylay Member Posts: 922 Pioneering
    @JohnBoy63 Ah good. :) B&W is amazing, isn't it? 
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