Breezer Registered User

I'm not sure if this question belongs here, it may be more of a legal issue. I'm interested in accessing my own medical records from a time when I was admitted to hospital as a child, I think it was 1992. The hospital in question no longer exists. I assume if the records still exist that this is possible under the Data Protection Act or Freedom of Information Act? Does anyone know where old records are stored, how long for, and how one goes about accessing them?

My reason for wanting to see them is pure curiosity; I'm a final year med student now myself and I'd be interested in comparing the treatment I received then with modern treatment.


if the hospital no longer exists then i dont know where you would start

maybe ask whoever was your gp at the time?

there shouldnt be a problem in theory, as you are entitled to them, its just the physical location of them.

try ringing the hse office in the area and ask fir the freedom of info officer, they might have an idea where to go

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Breezer Registered User

Well it was Harcourt St Hospital, which amalgamated with the Adelaide and the Meath to form Tallaght, I guess I could ring there. The website has details on accessing records.

Do you know how long records are usually kept for? Apparently in the UK children's records are kept till they're 25, but I can't find anything for Ireland. I'll ring and ask anyway, I just reckon I might get a confused person on the end of the line since it's been so long, so I was hoping to find out if there's any likelihood of the records still existing before I start.


give tallaght a ring, there should be a designated FOI officer

havent a clue how long theyre kept, sorry!

good luck, let us know if you track them down

RobFowl Moderator

They are kept for at least 8 years and after that are usually transfered to microfiche so still exist.
Harcourt street records were transferred to Tallaght so they should be there.
You GP at the time should have got discharge summaries and may still have them.
From professional and personal experience getting records from hospitals is like pulling teeth but eventually you should be successful (expect resistance mainly due to difficulty finding someone who is responsible).
If you recall the name of the consultant you were under his/her secretary should be the first port of call.
Good luck

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Breezer Registered User

RobFowl said:
If you recall the name of the consultant you were under his/her secretary should be the first port of call.
Good luck
I do, very well, the man is the reason I'm alive today. He's now retired though, so I can't chase it up that way.

Ah I'll give it a shot. I won't be too concerned if it doesn't work, it's really just to satisfy my curiosity. Thanks for the help!

lonestargirl Registered User

The hospital that I worked in had records going back to the 60s and 70s. Whether you would have been able to find a given record or not is an entirely seperate question, the really old ones were in a basement under the kitchen. Since then all records past 5 years have been moved off-site to a specialised storage company, they are not microfilmed though.

DrIndy Registered User

Accessing records for your own interest should not be a problem and is something you are entitled to.

After harcourt street closed - all records were transferred to Tallaght and so located there.

Contacting a secretary is better because this is the standard route - even if the consultant has retired, another one took over his case so the "secretary" for the retired chap should still technically exist. Being nice on the phone will help you heaps here but you still need to send in a request in writing to authorise release.

FOI requests are a different channel entirely and go through an FOI officer who has to decide and complete forms authorising this as a genuine FOI request and can be a longer process (in fact much longer - if it has to be sent to a higher authority for authorisation first) although is a definitive process.

My recommendation - contact the secretary first and only then go FOI route. Be patient - these things can take a genuinely long time as the old, old records are stored off-site in microfiche format or in warehouses of private archive contractors and can take up to 2 weeks to be found and transferred to the secretary before a copy can be made for you. Remember this is a routine request - not an emergency/urgent one where these records would directly affect treatment where different procedures are pulled and the records rustled up much faster.

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