Author Topic: Clarification on medical records  (Read 2117 times)

Offline LMChapman

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Clarification on medical records
« on: Wednesday 13 September 23 16:05 BST (UK) »
Hi all,

I'm researching a man who was a patient in Perth District Asylum, Murthly c1921 until his death in 1959. The University of Dundee holds patient records for this hospital but have told me that, because he died in the asylum, none of his records are available for 100 years i.e. until 2060.

I'm just wondering if anyone knows if this 100 year rule is open to academic/freedom of information requests or anything like that?
As I'm researching for a book, and the person I want to look into has been dead for 64 years, and has no immediate descendants as far as I'm aware - would I have a case for accessing at least some of his records?
Murray, McKelvie, Smith, Morrison, Latta, McClelland, Manson, Ingram, Cowan

Online RJ_Paton

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Re: Clarification on medical records
« Reply #1 on: Wednesday 13 September 23 17:23 BST (UK) »
I suspect that they are using the following section
Quote
Records involving special categories of personal data are closed for the lifetime of individuals which is assumed to be 100 years.

https://www.nrscotland.gov.uk/record-keeping/archives-and-data-protection

It may be worth reading the guides in the above link. I personally believe that with the proven death of the individual that they are incorrectly using this but I may be wrong

Offline oldfashionedgirl

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Re: Clarification on medical records
« Reply #2 on: Thursday 14 September 23 09:00 BST (UK) »
I understood it was 75 years in Scotland.
I was able to look up the hospital records of a relative who died in 1935 in The Royal Edinburgh a psychiatric hospital.
I had to order them up, which took about 3 weeks, and I was allowed to read but not copy them at the University library. I was allowed to take notes in pencil.
He died aged 20 and it was obviously thought at the time he had a serious mental health breakdown.
Reading through the notes it was now glaring obvious that he had sepsis poor guy.

Offline still_looking

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Re: Clarification on medical records
« Reply #3 on: Thursday 14 September 23 15:58 BST (UK) »
Given that their statement about a 100 year rule expressly refers to clinical records you could try asking for something non-clinical e.g. the date of the petition of admission.

The collection hierarchy refers to these being indexed, see here:
https://archives.dundee.ac.uk/thb-30

so perhaps with your c.1921 and the name which you presumably already have they might confirm the exact date.

S_L


Online RJ_Paton

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Re: Clarification on medical records
« Reply #4 on: Thursday 14 September 23 16:58 BST (UK) »
It may be worthwhile contacting the Information Commissioner to ask their opinion as to whether the records should be sealed for this period. In general the various pieces of legislation are aimed at the living who are presumed to have a right to privacy . However it has been extablished in a number of cases that the dead do not have such rights and that any reasonable expectation of privacy ceases upon an individuals proven death

Offline LMChapman

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Re: Clarification on medical records
« Reply #5 on: Friday 15 September 23 13:23 BST (UK) »
Given that their statement about a 100 year rule expressly refers to clinical records you could try asking for something non-clinical e.g. the date of the petition of admission.

The collection hierarchy refers to these being indexed, see here:
https://archives.dundee.ac.uk/thb-30

so perhaps with your c.1921 and the name which you presumably already have they might confirm the exact date.

S_L

You're correct here - I have since heard back from them again and they were able to provide me some basic info about his date of admission/previous admissions and discharges.
Murray, McKelvie, Smith, Morrison, Latta, McClelland, Manson, Ingram, Cowan

Offline LMChapman

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Re: Clarification on medical records
« Reply #6 on: Friday 15 September 23 13:23 BST (UK) »
It may be worthwhile contacting the Information Commissioner to ask their opinion as to whether the records should be sealed for this period. In general the various pieces of legislation are aimed at the living who are presumed to have a right to privacy . However it has been extablished in a number of cases that the dead do not have such rights and that any reasonable expectation of privacy ceases upon an individuals proven death

Interesting, I'll have a think about this, thank you.
Murray, McKelvie, Smith, Morrison, Latta, McClelland, Manson, Ingram, Cowan

Offline LMChapman

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Re: Clarification on medical records
« Reply #7 on: Friday 15 September 23 13:25 BST (UK) »
I understood it was 75 years in Scotland.
I was able to look up the hospital records of a relative who died in 1935 in The Royal Edinburgh a psychiatric hospital.
I had to order them up, which took about 3 weeks, and I was allowed to read but not copy them at the University library. I was allowed to take notes in pencil.
He died aged 20 and it was obviously thought at the time he had a serious mental health breakdown.
Reading through the notes it was now glaring obvious that he had sepsis poor guy.

That's so sad, there seems to be no end to the awful stories of misdiagnosis and mishandling of patients in previous centuries.
Murray, McKelvie, Smith, Morrison, Latta, McClelland, Manson, Ingram, Cowan