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Access to medical records

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  • Access to medical records

    Have been with the same company since 2011 and in March of this year I was signed off until July for depression and anxiety/stress.

    Then, in July I self harmed by jumping from a height which hospitalised me for two and a bit months, was discharged in October and am still going through treatment with physiotherapy but, following discussion with a psychiatrist, and not wishing to go on medication have chosen not to seek treatment through the NHS for mental health - I intend to seek psychotherapist privately.

    To the point... my employer recently wrote to me advising that I have reached the six month limit for SSP and requested to view my medical records. I have given consent but then was contacted by my GP who advised that it was being done by an external Human Resources company. They have advised there could be implications but I wondered if somebody could explain/advise what my options are?

    Do I have the right to totally deny access? Presumably this would end my employment contract by default? This is currently my preferred route forward anyway.

    If I do allow access, is it advisable/possible to limit it to what is relevant to my absence? Given that I'm almost certain I'd like to take the opportunity to change careers and reduce to part time work for a time is it better to just deny access? I'm sure that my company would prefer me to stay but the job is extremely stressful and based on past experience I don't expect them rto do anything to alleviate that, but nor do I desire to lodge any complaints.

    Hope that makes sense please feel free to ask questions and I'll do my best to answer.
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  • #2
    Does your company contract out its HR function to an external company? Where you given the option in the request to see a copy of the medical report in advance and if so did you request to do so?

    In writing to your GP the actual request for information should be confined to the actual reasons for your absence, prognosis, likelihood of returning to work, if you can return to work are there any adjustments that the GP would recommend? They should not be asking for information outside of the parameters of your current condition.

    If you do not allow access to your medical records then if the company is considering your position, or possibility of future return to work, then the implication is that they could potentially make a decision without having the full facts available to them which may preclude some form of agreement as to a change to your job role to accommodate your return to work etc.
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    • #3
      Thanks thats helped to clarify.

      It would appear they do contract it externally, although they didn't specify this when making the request.

      I was given that option but regrettably didn't ask to see it as I'd assumed it was just a formality and they would only be able to access relevant info.

      I suppose I'm decidedly not able to return so in effect denying access would probably arrive at that outcome anyway.

      I suppose I ought to inform them in writing I.e. hand in my notice but I wonder if this might effect a potential benefit claim? Although ideally I would find part time work elsewhere it's conceivable I may struggle to do that. I haven't actually seen my GP since this happened, it's all been hospital consultants- I've also provided my employer with this information.


      • #4
        I am sorry I am not sure what the effect would be on any potential benefit claim if you resigned.

        I do know that if you are still employed and have exhausted your entitlement to SSP your employer should provide you with an SSP1 from at around 23 weeks from the start of SSP payment if you are expected to be off work beyond the 28 weeks. This allows you to apply for Employment Support Allowance (ESA) instead.
        I do my best to provide good practical advice, however I do so without liability.
        If you have any doubts then do please seek professional legal advice.

        You canít always stop the waves but you can learn to surf.

        You are braver than you believe, smarter than you think and stronger than you seem.

        If we have helped you we'd appreciate it if you can leave a review on our Trust Pilot page


        • #5
          Hopefully I might be able to offer a bit of insight to a couple of areas.

          With regard to benefits. It all depends on whether your area is a live or full universal credit (UC) area. With the recent headlines about the government suspending the roll out of UC Iím not sure if there are areas of the country only on the old system of job seekers allowance (JSA), employment and support allowance (ESA) and housing benefit (HB).

          The first thing to note is the rules are very, very complex and they change all the time. The majority of the DWP staff I deal with donít know enough to be able to answer a lot of the questions or on occasion have given the wrong advice. As one member of the DWP told me ďuniversal credit has been designed to save the government moneyĒ. It is very harsh and draconian. You need to make sure you know what will happen in your situation before it happens and that the advice you have been given is correct. I say that because I have also been given the wrong advice by the citizens advice. Itís not a criticism of the staff or the organisation. Itís because the systems such a complicated mess.

          As an example and this is to the best of my knowledge and it was the situation I was basically in at one point. If you are in a full UC area and you quit your job while not being signed off sick. Or you are sacked/laid off without a good documented reason as to why. You are looking at a six month sanction. Because UC is now a combination of JSA/ESA and HB you would get nothing towards housing, no part benefit. Nothing for most likely six months. Where as under the old system you would have been eligable for HB and been able to apply for a reduced amount of JSA as a hardship payment (subject to your financial situation etc). Once you are on UC you will understand all the headlines about the increase in homelessness and the reason why.

          The second is my experience of restricted access to medical records. I was involved in a compensation claim and they wanted full access to my medical records. I had to fight quite hard to let them only have related access. I was assured it will be fine, lawyers are used to dealing with medical records etc. The redaction was done by my GPís staff and it wasnít done anywhere near fully or correctly. They donít care itís not their records. A lot of very sensitive information wasnít redacted. The reality of that is the page or pages of your medical records that are relevant are copied in whole and passed on. A page could have a dozen or so visits to the doctor on it. In my case it meant sensitive, personal, non related information which wasnít redacted was also sent. Itís also surprising (in my case not in a good way) what is in a GPís notes. Iím not sure how much of it my old employers actually saw. In your case it would mean the HR company and more than likely your old employer would see it.

          Maybe I was just unlucky and itís not normally that bad. But it was my experience of it. I wasnít happy or comfortable with the outcome. I doubt I would do it again. Especially with the modern digital age.

          Good luck and I hope youíre back to full health soon.
          Last edited by UC989; 27th November 2018, 00:21:AM. Reason: Mistyped


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