Patients have right to get medical records from hospitals

Patients have right to get medical records from hospitals

Patients have a right to get their medical records from hospitals and the Health Ministry should issue instructions to ensure that such documents are not denied, the Law Ministry said today.

Against the backdrop of a Central Information Commission judgement ordering disclosure of information to a former RAW official, the Law Ministry has pointed out that "most of the time the hospital authorities do not provide details of the medical record or the treatment given to a patient."

In a letter to Union Health Secretary Lov Verma, Union Law Secretary P K Malhotra has said that according to the CIC's July 23 order, a patient has a right to his/her medical record which is rooted in Article 19 and 21 of the Constitution and the hospital authorities have a duty to provide the same under RTI Act, Consumer Protection Act, Medical Council Act and world medical ethics dealt with constitutional rights.

"If there are existing instructions to this effect, the same need to be reiterated and the concerned authorities sensitised about the same," Malhotra wrote.

He said if there are no existing instructions, the Health Ministry may consider issuing suitable orders or rules so that patients get copies of their medical record including details of treatment, "as a matter of right."

Sources in the Law Ministry said easy availability of medical records will help patients avoid approaching courts or quasi judicial bodies for remedy.

He said the instructions can be issued based on the CIC order.

Nisha Priya Bhatia, a former official of Research and Analysis Wing, had sought her medical records from Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences where she was admitted on the orders of Delhi High Court.

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