Access to medical records is one of the areas that people can get confused about and in the United Kingdom, it can literally be like getting blood out of a stone. When it comes to considering equity release plans, people can feel concerned that what they consider is private and confidential information will be released. This is not the case. You will not be asked for a medical examination by any of the equity release providers, only confirmation in some cases may be required for the questions you answer on your lifestyle questionnaire. Any confirmation of medical information required by your provider will only be a validation of your statements to the provider at the time of the questionnaire. Access to medical records is not a requirement for the equity release providers.
In most cases, even where companies will request 100% medical records, a detailed letter will be issued from your GP on your medical history only with your permission. Medical records will not be released as these records are all bound by the Data Protection Act of 1998 and your permission is required for full disclosure. The cost of being provided with this information is borne by the provider.
Some doctors can be reluctant to release all medical records more so now in such a litigious society and it is more than likely that a detailed history will be provided in a shorter form than every single aspect of your medical history being released. In some cases, a simple letter detailing the information required to marry up with the responses on the lifestyle questionnaire will be enough for a provider to be able to assess your life expectancy.
Delays from some doctors can be experienced and you can ask for a copy of what is released to the provider for your own records. Letters from consultants for previous medical conditions can also be submitted as evidence of conditions and treatments sometimes are confirmed in writing by many NHS trusts around the country. Delays from doctors can be the biggest barrier for providers and you can help to push the matter along by chasing your doctor’s surgery for the response and many surgeries will not releases information until payment has been remitted. This is the area that is likely to be the most time-consuming aspect of your application. Access to medical records is not as worrying as it might initially sound.