AFF has received several enquiries about transferring health records, especially from overseas or devolved nations, so how can you avoid issues? Karen Ross, AFF Health & Additional Needs Specialist, reports…

Problems can sometimes arise if you were registered with a Defence Primary Healthcare (DPHC) practice and then return to an NHS GP practice.

Stephanie contacted AFF because when she returned to England from Cyprus and registered at an NHS GP practice, her health records hadn’t arrived.

“I didn’t know how to get my or my daughter’s medical records. It should have been simple but it wasn’t,” she explains. After trying several ways to track them down without success, she adds: “I was tearing my hair out. In the end my husband contacted Commander Med and this resolved the issue.”

Not all families living overseas would have this option but there are other avenues depending on whether it’s primary or secondary healthcare records you require. Contact me at if you need help.

Before you return

You can request copies of your health records before leaving your overseas location. If you’re moving between DPHC practices overseas and the UK (or vice versa) your health records will be transferred electronically because they work on the same system. However, if you’re in a location under host nation provision, it’s advisable to request a copy of your patient health records before you leave, especially if you’ve had medical care or treatment whilst there.

If you’re returning to the UK and have been registered with a DPHC practice but are registering with an NHS GP practice, your notes may take time to transfer. It’s advisable to request a summary of your care record before you leave.

Devolved differences

Several families have also raised issues with transferring their health records from England to the devolved administrations and back. In Scotland, Practitioner Services will request your records and will then pass information to the NHS Central Register Scotland. They can then track where you were previously registered. They also ensure that the appropriate authorities in England, Wales or Northern Ireland are aware you have registered in Scotland.

If you’re registered with a DPHC practice in Northern Ireland, Wales or Scotland and moving to England and registering with an NHS practice, it’s advisable to request a summary of care or copy of your notes before you leave, as sometimes it can take time to transfer.

You can access your GP record by logging onto your account using the NHS app or NHS website. You can also speak to your GP surgery. For other health records you may need to contact the hospital or other healthcare provider involved in your treatment.

The NHS app

If you’re living in England and registered with an NHS GP practice, it’s worth downloading the NHS app as it allows you to access your COVID Pass, view your health record, order repeat prescriptions, book appointments, find your NHS number and much more. You need to be aged 13 or over –

If you move GP practices some information will remain on your app but certain functionality will cease, such as booking appointments. Unfortunately, you can’t register with a new GP through your account, but once you’ve registered and your health records have arrived, it usually takes about a week for the app to update.

Related Posts