An organ transplant patient has criticised the health service for trying to charge him £50 to take his medical records with him when he moved to England.
Nathan Flatman, who was involved in the campaign to bring the All Ireland Fleadh to Derry, and previously worked at the Alley Theatre in Strabane, said he was shocked when staff at the Mourneside Health Centre in Strabane told him he would have to pay for his file.
Mr Flatman, who is a kidney transplant recipient, moved back to England this week and said he wanted to take his medical files with him because when he moved previously it took up to six weeks to transfer the information.
“The last time I moved back to England it took a long time to have the files sent to my new GP so this time I wanted to speed the process up. I spoke to my GP and he told me to go along to the health centre and pick up the records and take them with me myself.
“I went there first thing in the morning on Tuesday and was shocked when they told me it would be £50. They had the records sitting there, I could see them,” he said.
Mr Flatman refused to pay and said it will now cost the health service to post the records.
“As a kidney transplant patient my file is quite large. It is like a phone book. It will cost them around £20 to post it yet I was prepared to take it for them at no cost,” he explained.
He also said the transfer of his file will now be delayed.
“I’ll have to make an appointment with a GP in England, and them wait for the files to be sent. This could have been sorted out so much easier without this delay,” he said.
When contacted in relation to the issue a spokesperson for the Health and Social Care Board responded: “A GP practice may levy a charge for the provision of copies of patients’ GP medical records. When patients transfer to a new GP practice it is standard procedure for their GP medical records to transfer, free of charge, to the new GP practice.
“When a patient requests copies of his or her medical notes for any reason there may be a charge for the replication and preparation of the copies of GP medical files.”