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Asylum Patient Records

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Asylum Patient Records

Postby ksouthall » Mon Feb 17, 2020 7:57 pm

Has anyone looked at asylum records before? I would like to look at records from the 1960s and 1970s for a couple of family members.

Does anyone know if these records can be viewed and, if so, what information would I need to provide in order to look at them? Would it be restricted to their next-of-kin?

Any advice would be gratefully received.
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Re: Asylum Patient Records

Postby AdrianB38 » Mon Feb 17, 2020 8:43 pm

It's virtually certain that you would not be allowed to look at them yourself - I couldn't even look at a 1960s factory staff register for my grandpa in case I saw details for someone who was alive. However, the Record Office would photo the relevant line. And presumably I would only be allowed to see that one line if it was clear to them that grandpa was dead.

https://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/hospitalrecords is reputed to be the starting point for finding out what is where.

You'd think that there was a set of principles laid down somewhere about who can see what but it's not obvious to me if there is.
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Re: Asylum Patient Records

Postby AdrianB38 » Mon Feb 17, 2020 8:47 pm

D'uh. If you want to jog your memory - hit the <Send> key.

Have a look at https://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/help-with-your-research/research-guides/historical-nhs-patient-records/
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Re: Asylum Patient Records

Postby ksouthall » Mon Feb 17, 2020 9:12 pm

Thanks Adrian. The hospital closed in 1999 and I believe patient records were transferred to the local archive service. Both relatives are deceased. One was a widow when she died and both her children are now also deceased. Would her grandchildren be able to view the records, or copies of relevant entries?

The other relative is also deceased. He left a widow and children. As the widow is the next-of-kin, would she be the only one able to view the records or could the children as well? Would they need her permission to view them?

This assumes that there are records available to view. The local archives website implies there are patient records up to 1970 so I might try them and see what they say.

I'll let you know in case anyone else wants to trace similar information.
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Re: Asylum Patient Records

Postby Norfolk Nan » Mon Feb 17, 2020 9:40 pm

I had the same message when I enquired about looking at registers for a patient of the 1930s who died in the 1970s. They apply the 100 year rule for the youngest patient. As I wasn’t sure about my dates or which hospital so it looked likely to be an expensive exercise to track my relative down through the indexes so the idea was abandoned.
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Re: Asylum Patient Records

Postby junkers » Tue Feb 18, 2020 12:06 am

I think you would be unlikely to get access from such a recent date as the entries may include information on other family members who are living, but I suggest you approach the local archive to see if they have the records in the first place, there should be something on their website about access to patient records.
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Asylum Patient Records

Postby JaneyH » Tue Feb 18, 2020 9:12 am

I have copies of my great-grandmother’s medical records from her time in the Devon County Asylum, 1938 until her death there in 1952. I explained that I was a direct descendant (though not next of kin - my mother and uncle are still alive). Devon Archives asked me for a copy of her death certificate, which I included with my application.

Given that I live a long way from Devon I chose to pay for one of their staff to do the copying and scanning. One hour’s work cost me £35 ... a lot cheaper than the train fare.


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Last edited by JaneyH on Tue Feb 18, 2020 8:28 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Asylum Patient Records

Postby ksouthall » Tue Feb 18, 2020 7:03 pm

Thanks for your replies. I know which hospital my relatives were in and am also a direct descendent so will contact the local archives and see what they say.

It's not too far to travel so I would try and visit to see the records myself, if possible.
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Re: Asylum Patient Records

Postby AdrianB38 » Tue Feb 18, 2020 8:51 pm

ksouthall wrote:... I would try and visit to see the records myself, if possible.

Check with the Record Office first because unless the records are over 100y old (say), you almost certainly will not be allowed to see them because you might see data about other people in the same books / bundles etc who are still alive. A restriction that I have to say that I agree with.
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Re: Asylum Patient Records

Postby ksouthall » Wed Feb 19, 2020 1:50 pm

I've contacted the record office and they hold a sample of records from the hospital. There is a 75 year embargo on releasing information unless you are the next-of-kin in case living relatives are mentioned, which may be the case if visitors were listed or were present for appointments.
They suggested I email them with the details so that they can see if there are any records relating to my relatives.
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