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Access to my deceased mothers records - re Liverpool Care Pathway


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Hi

 

I only found out via news reports earlier this year about the Liverpool Care Pathway. My mother died in 2009 and I now believe she was put on this Pathway, although we were not informed and our permission was not asked. Having looked into this a little I believe our permission HAD to be granted and the hospital acted unlawfully. Other things also occured and I want to see what has been recorded about this as I believe a couple of things are suspicious.

 

I have put in a SAR and FOI request to the hospital. I originally asked all my questions under the FOI and was told by the hospital they could only answer some questions under that, if I wanted to get a copy of my mother's hospital records I needed to put in a SAR. I emailed the hospital back and they said they would pass this onto the Records Department.

 

Today I received an email stating the following (I copied and pasted it)

 

In order to make disclosure, the Trust needs to be satisfied that one of these grounds arises. Accordingly, can I ask you to supply either:-

• A copy of the Grant of Probate (and permission from the executor to release the records to you if you are not the executor)

• If there is no Will in existence, then a copy of the Letters of Administration (and permission from the administrator to release the records to you if you are not the administrator). Letters of Administration can be obtained by a solicitor or family/relatives can apply for Letters of Administration.

• If you have a legal claim arising out of the patient's the death, please provide details of the nature of, and basis for, such a claim.

 

There is no Will, Probate or Letters of Administration because my mother did not leave any money. Do I legally have to provide the Letters of Administration before they will answer this request? I looked into getting these LOA and it is a bit daunting, you have to go to the Probate Office, there isn't one near me, but I also suffer from severe agoraphobia so I would struggle to go in any instance.

 

Thank you

 

Edit actually, looking at the third point, if I say this presumably they will provide the information?

Edited by debtangel
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It would be difficult to state the basis of any claim so early on.

 

Unfortunately, to act in the name of a deceased person, you do need probate or administration to have been granted. Medical records are extremely sensitive information and it is normally reasonable to expect that they are only released by authority of a court to appropriate representatives.

 

Given that you are her daughter, you could try to obtain the records on the basis that the person is deceased and you are the next of kin, there being no other legal arrangement in place. You would obviously need your own birth certificate and her death certificate to begin with, but it would do no harm to ask whether they have any rules in respect of this.

 

Failing that, if they won't accept an informal approach and you are unable to apply for administration yourself, you would need a solicitor to do it for you. It is a simple process so hopefully the fee would be low or at least fixed in advance.

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If your mother was considered medically competent to reach her own decision, then you don't have to be asked to consent or assent.

Normal practice would be to advise the patient to allow it to be discussed with the next of kin, but if the patient refuses they can't discuss it with you while they remain alive. I'm not saying this happened but you would need to see the notes to be sure.

 

If the patient can't consent, you can't consent on their behalf.

This also means that they don't HAVE to ask you if you agree to the LCP (in other words seek your consent), although it is 'good practice' to ensure the next of kin is aware and agrees (assent, rather than consent).

 

The notes should document what what discussed with whom, and when, as well as how any decision was reached (and again, with whom).

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I advise to the best of my ability, but I am not a qualified professional, benefits lawyer nor Welfare Rights Adviser.

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I am very sorry to hear of your mums passing but can I ask what has given you cause for concern about the lcp?

 

Please don't believe everything you read in the media about it. The lcp, in my experience, is a good tool to aid a dignified death. I have experience of it both personally & professionally.

"In this situation, you know what you have to do? Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming." Dory - Finding Nemo.:wink:

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Hello Debtangel

 

There is a possible way around it

 

Did your Mum leave any property ?

 

If there was no will and no property - there will not be an executor of the estate but the person that deals with the estate is deemed as the administrator. If there is no property it is likely there is no need for probate or letters of administration.

 

The administrator of the estate is your Mum's 'personal representative ' and as such can request copies of all your Mum's medical records by making a request under section 3(f) of the Access to Health Records Act 1990.

 

That person might have to provide some evidence that they acted as administrator, if you have any letters to any of your Mum's debtors or creditors (if she had any) from or to that person, it may suffice.

 

The NHS is well known for making complaints, claims and requests for information as hard as they possibly can.

Edited by bhall

 

Yes Mark, I am Bones

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If your mother was considered medically competent to reach her own decision, then you don't have to be asked to consent or assent.

Normal practice would be to advise the patient to allow it to be discussed with the next of kin, but if the patient refuses they can't discuss it with you while they remain alive. I'm not saying this happened but you would need to see the notes to be sure.

 

If the patient can't consent, you can't consent on their behalf.

This also means that they don't HAVE to ask you if you agree to the LCP (in other words seek your consent), although it is 'good practice' to ensure the next of kin is aware and agrees (assent, rather than consent).

 

The notes should document what what discussed with whom, and when, as well as how any decision was reached (and again, with whom).

 

From my understanding the LCP was drawn up between the NHS and Marie Curie. This is what it says in the Marie Curie leaflet.

 

How will patients and families know if the LCP is

being used?

Doctors and nurses must discuss the decision to

use the LCP to support a patient’s care with the

family. There should never be an occasion where

families are unaware that their loved one is being

supported by the LCP. Where this occurs, the LCP is

being used improperly.

 

http://www.mariecurie.org.uk/Documents/Q812-LCP-carer-info-5-26-nov.pdf

 

Not only was that not discussed, but, there are other things that occurred in her care at the hospital that I have concerns about. My mum was in a coma, she spoke to me about 3am following the day of her admittance, then after prompting spoke to my sister too, but it was disregarded and they continued not to give her any fluids or take any other action, they didnt even examine her. Again in the Marie Curie leaflet it says this:

 

If the patient’s condition improves can the LCP

be discontinued?

Yes – some patients do improve while on the LCP.

Use of the LCP can be discontinued if the patient’s

condition improves.

 

There is another matter regarding removing life support, but I would rather not get into that.

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Thank you for the other advice. There was no need for probate or letters of administration after her passing.

 

The records office asked me to provide photographic ID and a utility bill, so I emailed these over to them after I created this thread with the signed Application for copy records, I will see what they come back with.

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