Medical Records and Adoption
When a child is adopted do I have to go through the medical record to delete all references to the previous surname?
Following lengthy discussions with the Department of Health Solicitors, the NHS Central Registration Department have been adivsed that there is no statutory requirement for information to be removed from medical records by GPs or by themselves. As a consequence of this the NHS Central Registration Adoptions Section stopped amending medical records of adopted persons and put all clinical notes/letters (bearing the original identity) into a new medical record envelope. The pre-adoptive information should be regarded as confidential, but if there is a professional need to use this, care should be taken regarding its disclosure. The Kent Primary Care Agency's process is to ensure that details of the child's GP registration on their database are held in the adoptive identity and to issue a new medical record to which the contents of the old medical record can be transferred.
This accords with BMA guidance which states, "The fact of adoption may not, in itself be medically relevant, but the fact that a child is not genetically related to his or her parents may be. Similarly if the true parents are known to be carriers of a genetic condition this may have implications for the child's future care. It is worth knowing however that many children are not the genetic child of those whom they assume to be their father and assumptions about genetic ties may not always be true. Decisions about whether to include information on adoption must be taken on a case by case basis. Parents of adopted children are encouraged to be frank with them about the fact of adoption and it may be helpful to talk to parents about whether they are planning to tell the child about his or her adoption so that risks of inadvertent disclosure are put within context. It could be harmful or disressing for individuals to discover inadvertently and when unprepared that their background is not as they had been led to believe."