Access to Medical Reports Act 1988
Before you give your consent for an application to be made for a report giving medical information, you should be aware that you have certain rights under the Access to Medical Reports Act 1988. In summary these rights are:
- To withhold your consent for an application to be made to your doctor
- To arrange to see a medical report before it is supplied by your doctor
- To ask your doctor to amend any part of the report which you consider to be inaccurate or misleading; and
- If your doctor declines to amend the report, he must attach a written statement giving your views on its content; or
- To withhold your consent to the report being supplied.
Your rights under the Act and the procedures for applying them are set out in detail below:
- Under the Act an employer cannot, without your consent, apply for a medical report from a doctor who has been responsible for your physical or mental health care. The consent form also asks, in accordance with the Act, whether you wish to see the report before it is sent.
- If you decide that you would like to see the report first, the Company will advise the doctor of that fact and will notify you of the date that the application for the medical report is actually made. You will then have 21 days in which to make arrangements with the doctor to see the report. You must arrange with your doctor to see the report, have it photocopied and, if necessary, posted to you. The doctor may charge you a reasonable fee to cover the cost of doing so.
- If you did not indicate on the consent form that you wished to see the report but later change your mind, you will still be able to notify the doctor that you wish to see the report before it is sent to the Company. You will then have 21 days from the date of your notification to the doctor to make arrangements to see the report. Please note, however, that the doctor is not obliged to delay supplying the report in case you change your mind. By the time you have decided that you would rather see the report first, the doctor may already have sent it off. There is then no right for you to have your comments attached to the report.
- If, following notification to the doctor, you have seen the report, the doctor will not be able to send the report to the Company without your further consent. Having seen the report, you will be entitled to request that the doctor amend any part of the report that you consider to be inaccurate or misleading. If the doctor does not agree to amend the report as requested, you will be able to attach a written statement to the report giving your view on its contents.
- Whether or not you decide to see the report before it is sent to the Company, the doctor will be obliged to keep a copy of the report for at least six months after the date it was sent out and you will be entitled to have access to the report the doctor holds.
- Please note that the doctor is not obliged to let you see those parts of the medical report that he/she believes would be likely to cause serious harm to your physical or mental health or that of others, or which would reveal information about another person or the identity of a person who has supplied the doctor with that information about your health, unless that person also consents. In those circumstances, the doctor will notify you and you will be limited to seeing only the remaining parts of the report.