Subject Access Request (SAR)

What is Subject Access?

The Data Protection Act 1998 gives living individuals the right to request access to personal data held on them by organisations. This is known as a Subject Access Request (SAR).

What is Personal Data?

Personal data is defined, in the Act, as data which relates to a living individual who can be identified from the data. It is also other information which includes any expression of opinion about the individual and any indication of the intentions of any other person in respect of the individual.

What is a Health Record?

In section 68 the Act defines a "Health Record" as any record which consists of information relating to the physical or mental health or condition of an individual which has been made by or on behalf of a health professional in connection with the care of that individual.

Who can make a Subject Access Request?

  • Any individual can make a Subject Access Request (SAR). In addition an individual may nominate a representative (such as a solicitor or relative) to apply on their behalf. In this case, there must be a valid consent signed by the individual who authorises the release of information to the representative.
  • A person who has parental responsibility for a young child can request access to the child's records. Release of records is usually only made in the best interests of the child. Children may apply themselves - where it is considered that the child has the competence to be able to understand the nature and implications of making a SAR. If they are considered competent, they should also be consulted regarding any request that has been made for their records by another individual, i.e. a person with parental responsibility. The competence of the child in respect of requests for records can be considered from the age of 12.
  • For mentally incapacitated adults a person may make a request on their behalf if they have been granted power of attorney or agent by a court to manage their affairs. The request must be made in relation to the management of their affairs and finances.
  • Organisations may charge to comply with Subject Access requests and the fee for health records is between £10 and £50, depending on the nature and size of the record. 

What about medical records regarding deceased persons?

The Access to Health Records Act 1990 allows certain individuals to request access to a deceased patient's health records.

Who can make a request for a deceased patient's records under the Act?

The deceased patient's personal representative - this will be the Executor of the Will or Administrator of the deceased person's estate, or

  • Any individual, or representative, who may have a claim arising out of the patient's death. The applicant or their representative must specify what claim is being made, and only information that is relevant to the claim should be considered for release.

How can I make a Subject Access Request?

If you wish to make a Subject Access Request, you must put your request in writing to:

Access to Information Team

Unit 14
The Point
Lions Way
Sleaford
NG34 8GG

 Telephone:  01522 308974

You will be required to provide sufficient information or complete the standard Subject Access Request form (below) so that we have all relevant information to process your request.

Please click on the link below for a Subject Access application form:
  Subject Access Form

Please click on the link below for the Subject Access Request application form for deceased people:

  Subject Access Form - Deceased

Please click on the link below to find out how to access your health records:

  How to see your health records leaflet