What happens to my medical record when I register?

We regularly get queries from patients about what happens to their medical records when they register with the Practice. All NHS patients have a single GP medical record that is generally held both electronically along with some historic information still held on paper. After a patient registers with us their medical record is sent to us by the previous GP practice. This can take a matter of days when the previous practice is in Scotland but it takes considerably longer than this when retrieving a record from elsewhere in the UK.

This means that when patients move to the area it is important to register with the Practice as soon as possible to give us time to get hold of the medical record. Until it arrives we may have no information about previous significant medical history such as operations, allergies, medication, disease diagnoses, etc. For new babies or for patients who have moved to be resident in the UK for the first time there is no previous record for us to retrieve but it is still important to register with the Practice so we can start to collect medical details on their behalf. For example, new babies will start their course of childhood immunizations at an early age. Without a registered GP record this information may not be collected in one place.

Similarly, when patients leave the local area once they have registered with a new GP elsewhere then we forward their record to be kept and added to by the new practice. This means that once a patient is no longer registered with us we have no access to any medical record entries which occur after de-registration.

Patients who are visiting the area or who return for a short period, for example to stay with family members, can register temporarily with us for up to 3 months. This enables them to access primary medical services whilst away from home, including emergency and immediately necessary care. After 3 months, the patient must either register permanently with us or their care reverts to their home GP practice. We will forward the details of any care provided to the home GP practice to be included in the patient’s medical record. This means that while registered temporarily with us we have no access to the patient’s full medical record as it remains with their home GP practice.

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