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Cost of obtaining medical records?

strokecarerstrokecarer Member Posts: 9 Connected
Hi, I had obtained my husband's medical records in 2019 for a PIP appeal. We decided to cancel the appeal, then opened a fresh claim for PIP, as he'd had further medical issues since the first claim. He was turned down, but I decided not to ask for a mandatory reconsideration. The problem is that since our GP surgery gave us a free copy of his medical records in 2019, they now want to charge £250 to print out more records (even just records to cover 2019-2020). How often can you ask for free medical records?We live in Northern Ireland, if that makes a difference.

Replies

  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 6,006 Disability Gamechanger
    edited July 2020
  • strokecarerstrokecarer Member Posts: 9 Connected
    Thank you for the links, mikehughescq. I found this from an NHS website:

    "access to your medical records has been given, you do not have a right to see your records again until a 'reasonable' time has passed. What is a reasonable time will depend upon the type of records and how often they are changed."

    It's pretty vague! 
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 6,006 Disability Gamechanger
    Several issues there really:

    1 - it’s a fresh claim to PIP. Multiple claims to PIP are not helpful and on this one you need to decide that if it fails you will pursue it through MR to appeal. 

    2 - you do not need medical records for a PIP claim. You don’t have to prove things beyond reasonable doubt. If something has changed since the first claim that isn’t enough in itself to justify a second claim but it is enough to just say so and explain what in the claim pack, You also need to identify the specific points he will score now that he wouldn’t have then. If you can’t do that then the outcome will likely be the same as the first claim. 

    3 - the general principle is that if you do the same thing then you get the same outcome. His medical records were not enough for him to qualify first time round so that suggests a weakness in the claim pack. Concentrating on that and anecdotal stories of real world examples of what happened when he attempts each of the points scoring activities is likely to be far more fruitful than getting medical records. 

  • janer1967janer1967 Member Posts: 9,309 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi and welcome to the community great to have you on board. 

    I would suggest you have a good look at the advice as continually applying for PIP will not mean you get awarded unless there has been a change in condition that affects his ability to complete daily tasks.

    Also they say less is more with evidence I have only sent off OH needs assessment, prescription list, confirmation of visual impairment and physio report with my claims and was awarded enhanced both times

    Good luck and if you need any further advice just ask
  • strokecarerstrokecarer Member Posts: 9 Connected
    Thank you both for your replies. 

    Mikehughescq, I will ask for a mandatory reconsideration, as you suggested. This latest PIP claim was denied just under a month ago, so I will try to get the MR letter to them on Monday. I had originally thought asking for a reconsideration was a lost cause because if it goes to appeal, I won't have access to his medical records from 2019 and 2020, but if it comes to it, I'll try negotiating with the GP surgery again! 

    I put in this most recent claim for my husband because he has had a couple more medical issues crop up since the last claim. He did at least get points in one category, but the point I really tried to get across in the claim is that he has cognitive impairment from a series of 5 stroke episodes which affects his ability to manage so many different things.

    It's hard to prove cognitive impairment, but with his claim, I included entries from a journal I kept to illustrate how this affects him. The assessor countered that my husband isn't seeing a memory specialist. I had no idea there was such a thing. The problem is that my husband doesn't want help from other people and probably would refuse to see a memory specialist anyway. He relies heavily on me, though, and I have to do all of the liasing with all the different consultants, order and dole out all his meds, etc, among other things.

    Sorry for the long-winded post! I'm feeling frustrated with the process. I'm reading what the assessors are saying and thinking maybe they're right. Then any time I consider taking on more hours at work, I think how would my husband cope if I'm not there to do this and that for him...so then I'm back to thinking he obviously does need help. 
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 6,006 Disability Gamechanger
    Okay then:

    1 - there’s nothing to negotiate with the surgery. If you’re covered by GDPR then they’re free but, and it’s a big but, you simply don’t need his medical records. I very much doubt anyone is disputing he has cognitive impairment. What is up for debate are the consequences of that. That’s not then about medical evidence. Your GP doesn’t live with you. They can’t comment on whether he can reliably budget or toilet (for example). They’ll only know what he’s told them. A GP won’t repeat that unless they believe it but any repetition would be in a letter you’d need to pay for and not on his medical records. The repetition would also not be medical evidence. It would just be a supporting letter like a letter from family. Basically you’re focusing on the wrong evidence for the wrong reasons. 

    2 - you don’t have to “prove” cognitive impairment. You need to demonstrate the consequences. You are focusing on the HCP report to the detriment of the PIP claim. Build a case for PIP rather than against the HCP. Your best evidence is anecdotal and a lot of your third paragraph is a good example of that.

    “ The assessor countered that my husband isn't seeing a memory specialist. I had no idea there was such a thing. The problem is that my husband doesn't want help from other people and probably would refuse to see a memory specialist anyway. He relies heavily on me, though, and I have to do all of the liasing with all the different consultants, order and dole out all his meds, etc, among other things.”

    Just say that in the MR.
  • strokecarerstrokecarer Member Posts: 9 Connected
    Thank you, mikehughescq- excellent advice! Honestly if I hadn't chatted with you, I wouldn't have bothered asking for the MR. I'm feeling hopeful now :-) 
  • chiariedschiarieds Community Co-Production Group Posts: 8,085 Disability Gamechanger
    edited July 2020
    Hi @strokecarer - Nothing much I can add to the excellent advice given above. It's hard, but do try to forget the assessor's report. They come up with some standard 'cut & paste' responses. Mine was that as I didn't see 'a pain management nor physiotherapy specialist,' I could walk further than I stated without being in pain. Hmmm... well I happen to be a physiotherapist, which I'd stated 3 times in my claim form, at my assessment, & my GP had mentioned in his supportive letter (also mentioning that pain medication was ineffective in those with my disorder). So I hope you can see that being deemed to 'need' to see a specialist, or are not seeing one, doesn't mean much at all in the assessor's report.
    My MR was successful in awarding me the award of PIP I thought appropriate. As mentioned, you now need to concentrate on where your husband should have gained points in any applicable activity, explaining why any such activity is difficult, what happened when it was attempted, what problems occurred, what assistance did he need, etc?
    Just in case you haven't seem them, & my apologies if you have, here is a link to the descriptors. Please see: https://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/asset-library/Scores-for-PIP-Descriptors-2020.pdf
    Go from there, & link your husband's difficulties with these. Please also read the notes at the end about the 'reliably' concept, namely can he do an activity safely, to an acceptable standard, as often as someone without his disability would normally be able to do, does it cause pain during/after an activity, etc.
    This anecdotal evidence is your way forward, as mentioned. :)

  • strokecarerstrokecarer Member Posts: 9 Connected
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