Do I have a right to copies of my child’s audiogram?

Posted on: October 8, 2015

Over the years this is a question I have heard a lot at NDCS. Recently I notice that additionally more families are being asked to pay for copies of test results and letters when they request them (for example when they apply for Disability Living Allowance). A symptom of the increasing financial pressures that the NHS is under I suspect.

The answer is that The NHS Plan (2000) made a commitment to patients/carers to receive copies of all letters written about them (p89). This was followed up by Copying letters to patients: good practice guidelines (2003).

So parents have a right to be offered copies of letters between clinicians that are written about their children. This guidance says that raw data (test results) should be explained in person and not copied to patient and technically an audiogram is ‘raw data’. They therefore don’t have a right to copies of the audiogram/other test results. However, provided parents have been given a proper explanation of what they mean then most welcome having copies themselves and most audiologists are more than happy to print off an extra copy at the time of the appointment. My feeling is that parents really should be given copies of audiograms with full explanations.

If parents haven’t been given an audiogram or letter that they need for another purpose (for example their DLA application) then the NHS is legally entitled to make a ‘reasonable’ charge for providing copies of anything in the patients files that isn’t already a ‘right’ for them to have. The charge should cover admin time, photocopy and postage charges.

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