In recent news, it has been revealed that General Practice (GP) surgeries are under pressure to produce and provide lawyers with medical records to support their personal injury cases.
They claim that the influx in requests is a result of the introduction of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a framework with much tougher punishments for those who fail to comply with the new rules around the storage and handling of personal data. Since last May, GPs have to comply with Subject Access Requests (SAR) for patient records free of charge, instead of being able to charge up to £50 at a time.
The change in the law has meant that GP surgeries are taking the majority of the financial burden as they bear the costs of producing the information. They say that it can cost surgeries up to £100 a time to produce notes for a single patient, and that’s not to mention the delivery arrangements and postage costs they have to cover too.
It is also said that the demands have had a significant impact on doctors’ workloads. If a doctor receives several record requests a week, it can detract from primary care and patient liaison, especially when the notes needed are for a patient with a complex medical history.
However, the GPs own professional body, the British Medical Association (BMA), has made it clear that under GDPR a SAR has to be met free of charge without postage costs and that a ‘reasonable’ fee can only be charged if the request is excessive.
David Stothard, Managing Director at MAPS, says “GPs who are blaming lawyers for this change have misdirected their anger at the wrong people. Solicitors and MROs who make SARs on behalf of victims in personal injury cases were generally content to pay the charge required pre GDPR. This change is not something they benefit financially from nor did we ask for it to happen. It reflects the different attitude of regulators to personal data and that it should be available free of charge to the data subject and their solicitors.”
How can MAPS help?
At MAPS, we take the stress out of obtaining medical records in personal injury and clinical negligence cases as we have dealt with many hundreds of requests under the new regime and can explain the law and requirements to GPs who are still not familiar with what is now required. We can obtain records in a cost-effective and efficient way saving fee earner time and cost wasted on such matters.
MAPS Medical Reporting is a solicitor and doctor-led company, we understand what it takes to investigate and win, personal injury and clinical negligence claims.
With our access to an extensive database of medical experts, we can select and instruct the most appropriate medico-legal expert witness to prepare and produce a report for you. All medico-legal reports procured through MAPS Medical Reporting are written to the highest standard and produced efficiently to suit your case needs.