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  • FIRST POST
    • DJBenson
    • By DJBenson 5th Mar 17, 11:52 PM
    • 418Posts
    • 261Thanks
    DJBenson
    Getting access to medical and legal documents
    • #1
    • 5th Mar 17, 11:52 PM
    Getting access to medical and legal documents 5th Mar 17 at 11:52 PM
    Bit of a hard one to post so bear with me...

    As a child, the eldest of three, I went through some pretty horrific stuff with my younger brothers, and whilst I could/should just let it lie, I can't, and I need to scratch the proverbial itch I've had for a number of years, rekindled by the recent death of my grandfather.

    There's two avenues I want to explore but I do not know where to begin.

    Firstly, I and one of my brothers were subjected to physical assault by a German lady who was at the time in a relationship with my father and was in the country illegally (and deported rather sharpish afterwards). All 3 children were hospitalised but only two of us had suffered physical trauma.

    My question around this is; would records still exist (probably around 1988/89) and if so, how would I begin tracking them down? It would have been Bolton Royal Infirmary (as was) we were admitted to if that helps narrowing down the searches.

    Secondly, following that, a court battle ensued in which my grandparents fought to get/keep custody of at least two of the three children (two of us were later made wards of court and lived with our grandparents for many happy years after).

    How would I begin to track down the court papers? Could I even get access to these and where do I begin?

    Both events must have been documented in quite some detail and would have been overseen by Lancashire County Council Social Services if that's another avenue to follow...
Page 2
    • DJBenson
    • By DJBenson 6th Mar 17, 10:44 PM
    • 418 Posts
    • 261 Thanks
    DJBenson
    Thanks TBagpuss

    I noticed on the NHS SAR form there was mention of withholding documents which may cause distress; kind of makes this task difficult as most of the documents are likely to cause some kind of distress, the very nature of the information I'm seeking is very distressing - I just hope there isn't a blanket "no" from certain parties to simply avoid complying.

    Yes, my grandparents lived in the area covered by Lancashire County Council Social Services - the time periods I am interested in, LCC actually had a much wider coverage area than they do now (for example I attended a school in Cumbria which was actually LCC controlled).

    Much of the information I am seeking is likely to cover me and my two siblings, I would assume/hope that medical records at least are at a patient level and as such they should just be about me - if there is any crossover then it's fair enough if details about my brothers are withheld depending upon the extent of editing that is required to remove any reference to them. I can't imagine the Social Services reports are written in any other way than referring to us as a collective - i.e. it was all three of us that suffered this abuse in some way so I'm thinking I might struggle to get anything like a full picture out of LCC.
    • coolcait
    • By coolcait 7th Mar 17, 12:13 AM
    • 4,133 Posts
    • 13,266 Thanks
    coolcait
    ....so I'm thinking I might struggle to get anything like a full picture out of LCC.
    Originally posted by DJBenson
    Perhaps. Perhaps not. But you won't know until you try.

    Once you've made the request for information, and seen what that brings you, you'll have a better idea of how things stand.

    Hopefully the request will bring you all the information you need. Or, at the very least, all the information that's available.
    • DJBenson
    • By DJBenson 11th Mar 17, 8:14 PM
    • 418 Posts
    • 261 Thanks
    DJBenson
    I've received a very disappointing response from the NHS in relation to my SAR at Bolton General Hospital (now Royal Bolton Hospital).

    I sent them the same SAR cover letter that I sent to everybody else and also their own SAR form.

    The response they have sent is;
    RE your access request for any copy notes and x-rays from Bolton Hospital. Unfortunately I have checked your details and have no records or x-rays registered with this hospital.

    The hospital number you have given on the access form is either for XXX or YYY.

    We will now file your request.
    by NHS Foundation Trust
    • Jojo the Tightfisted
    • By Jojo the Tightfisted 12th Mar 17, 12:28 AM
    • 23,248 Posts
    • 90,229 Thanks
    Jojo the Tightfisted
    I've received a very disappointing response from the NHS in relation to my SAR at Bolton General Hospital (now Royal Bolton Hospital).

    I sent them the same SAR cover letter that I sent to everybody else and also their own SAR form.

    The response they have sent is;


    Originally posted by DJBenson
    Might have been more useful to provide them with your NHS number instead? File numbers changed with different hospitals (at least they gave you those ones) and with different filing systems over the years and departments.
    I could dream to wide extremes, I could do or die: I could yawn and be withdrawn and watch the world go by.

    Yup you are officially Rock n Roll
    Originally posted by colinw
    • DJBenson
    • By DJBenson 12th Mar 17, 12:46 AM
    • 418 Posts
    • 261 Thanks
    DJBenson
    I provided them with 30 years of address history and what I thought was my NHS number but it seems the number (RXR...) was a hospital number. What does an NHS number look like? EDIT: n/m I Googled it.

    They've clearly identified me from the hospital number so I just don't agree they've done enough here to satisfy the SAR.
    Last edited by DJBenson; 12-03-2017 at 12:50 AM.
    • TBagpuss
    • By TBagpuss 12th Mar 17, 1:22 PM
    • 6,041 Posts
    • 7,789 Thanks
    TBagpuss
    May be stating the obvious but have you checked what records your current GP has?
    • DJBenson
    • By DJBenson 12th Mar 17, 2:47 PM
    • 418 Posts
    • 261 Thanks
    DJBenson
    They contacted me this week to say they'd requested my records be moved from their archive facility to the surgery so fingers crossed there is some detail there.
    • Jojo the Tightfisted
    • By Jojo the Tightfisted 12th Mar 17, 2:50 PM
    • 23,248 Posts
    • 90,229 Thanks
    Jojo the Tightfisted
    I provided them with 30 years of address history and what I thought was my NHS number but it seems the number (RXR...) was a hospital number. What does an NHS number look like? EDIT: n/m I Googled it.

    They've clearly identified me from the hospital number so I just don't agree they've done enough here to satisfy the SAR.
    Originally posted by DJBenson
    Be wary of seeing malice/laziness where there isn't any.

    To access records in the majority of NHS systems, you need the person's name, DoB and NHS number. Unless you have a fancy name, the odds are that there are 5-10 people with the same name and, quite frequently, a similar date of birth and addresses.

    To add to that, not only were A&E records frequently numbered separately and not tied up to main files, many, many places dealing with Child Protection or abuse ran entirely separate record systems to protect the victims. It's also very possible that medical records were transferred over to different hospitals - I used to receive huge, three foot wide bundles of notes from other hospitals to join up with current files and, at times, one patient's notes from the previous five years could fill an entire shelf.


    When anything happened before you were taken into care, it was a common occurrence that parents/abusers would give false names and addresses to avoid somebody noticing that x child has been seen 7 times, for example. They would also go to different hospitals and different areas.

    Once you were in care, it's possible that any carers used their details/surname rather than yours. Not because of recommendation, but because they were wary of you being tracked. Addresses could be different because the care co ordinator/key worker/social worker could be down as both the contact details and the parent to avoid the Parent of.... automatic letters being generated (a scarily regular occurrence).

    In addition, notes could have been submitted for court proceedings/expert testimony/evidence and not all made it back to the original locations.


    When NHS Trusts were formed, along with the massive rebuilding phase of the late 90s, records were relocated, sent to different hospitals, duplicates were put together (sometimes) and numbering systems changed several times. Moreover, the volume of files means that many were destroyed and some would be lost to the new systems or in the massive storage units they use.


    Asking them to look again using your NHS number might reveal some additional files as a result, but it might not; usually, entering that would make it possible to go onto another screen that lists all notes set up under that number (but even so, nothing relating to the sort of specialist files I've already referred to was recorded on the systems) and the attendances at A&E might have an electronic presence, but not anything physical kept.


    It's a massive job and if they still say after providing them with your NHS number that there's nothing, you'll have to take their word for it, unless Social Services can provide you with any further information relating to your case.



    I fully sympathise with your wish to see your notes and hope that you can find what you need.
    I could dream to wide extremes, I could do or die: I could yawn and be withdrawn and watch the world go by.

    Yup you are officially Rock n Roll
    Originally posted by colinw
    • DJBenson
    • By DJBenson 13th Apr 17, 4:23 PM
    • 418 Posts
    • 261 Thanks
    DJBenson
    I thought I would update on my quest; as I mentioned, I submitted SAR's to the hospital trust that now runs the hospital where I attended, my own GP and also Social Services. The NHS trust came up with nothing (but I intend to re-submit with additional information). My doctors could only find records dating from 1991 onwards (which is outside of my timescales) but today I received a CD-ROM with about 16 PDF's on containing in total about 1500 pages of scanned documents.

    I give LCC a hard time (justified most of the time ) but they have done a really good job here, and unless they subsequently invoice me for the service, I haven't paid for it.

    As expected, there is a lot of detailed (often harrowing) information in there; much of it I knew about, some I did not. But it has certainly given me enough information to start putting the pieces together. I'm just sad that having just lost my grandad (and my grandma in 2009) that I can't speak to them about these events, as I now have more questions than ever.

    Hoping for a more positive response from the NHS trust this time - the Social Service documents have some dates in which tally to the dates I am interested in, so with the NHS number I hope (taking everything JoJo said into consideration) that they might have something for me.
    • Robisere
    • By Robisere 13th Apr 17, 5:16 PM
    • 1,850 Posts
    • 2,644 Thanks
    Robisere
    As a man in his 70's who suffered abuse as a child from a parent, I can feel your distress and need to know. It's like a hunger for something that has been witheld and hidden from you for a long time. You know it exists, because you are certain of some of it, but until and unless you get the whole picture, it will not satisfy that hunger.

    Good luck with your search. People told me for years that I would not be "happy" if I discovered the truth and the facts. I always replied that I was not looking for happiness, just an end to not knowing.
    There may be more than one way to skin a cat.
    But the result is always inedible.

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