Who has parental responsibility and when can I access my child’s record online?

As a parent, there may be times you wish to see your child’s medical records via Proxy Access. If your child is under the age of 16 then you may be able to see your child’s medical record, firstly you would need to have parental responsibility for your child.

For a child whose birth was registered from 1st December 2003 in England both of the child’s parents have parental responsibility if they are named on the child’s birth certificate.

Throughout the United Kingdom, a mother automatically acquires parental responsibility at birth. However, the acquisition of parental responsibility by a father varies according to where and when the child’s birth was registered. In England, a father acquires parental responsibility if he is married to the mother at the time of the child’s birth or subsequently. An unmarried father will acquire parental responsibility if he is recorded on the child’s birth certificate (at registration or upon re-registration) from 1st December 2003 in England.

An unmarried father, whose child’s birth was registered before the above date, or who is not named on the birth certificate does not have parental responsibility. Parental responsibility can be applied for by following this link – https://www.gov.uk/parental-rights-responsibilities

Parents do not lose parental responsibility if they divorce; a separated or divorced parent cannot relinquish parental responsibility.

Parents who have online access to their child’s medical record (proxy access) will automatically lose access to the record when the child turns 11. Parents can make a further request for access and the child will need to be assessed for competency to consent to their parent having access by a GP.

In real terms, if your child declines to allow their parent access to their medical record from the age of 11, we are duty bound to respect that decision.

When the child reaches the age of 16 it is assumed they are competent to make an independent and informed decision about whether their parent or carer can have proxy access to their online GP record, unless there is an indication that they are not. Where a young person is not competent to make a decision, they have a learning disability for example, the GP will assess and decide that proxy access for the parent can continue.

More information on these topics, can be found here:

NHS England » Proxy access

Children and young people records access v3.0.pdf (rcgp.org.uk)

Parental rights and responsibilities: Who has parental responsibility – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)