§ Mrs. Iris Robinson
To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will outline the position regarding access to medical notes by a patient's(a) next of kin and (b) other first degree relatives. 
§ Ms Rosie Winterton
Access to health records of living patients is governed by the Data Protection Act 1998. Where a patient is a competent adult, access should normally only be given with the patient's consent. Special provisions apply for adults who are incapacitated and for children. Where a patient has died, access to their record is governed by the Access to Health Records Act 1990. The Act provides the right for a deceased person's personal representative and any person with a claim arising out of the patient's death to apply for access.