Can I request my medical records (such as having had a flu, surgery, etc) to be taken out, to keep them myself instead of trusting an institution to respect my privacy according to any EU laws?

I have met 3 friends in a bar last month, doctors, they told me they just randomly look at peoples' records when they meet someone, when a friend asks, etc, and it's common practice here. Maybe they are not allowed to do so by law (I don't know) but nobody finds out about it and many do so. There isn't much you can do with that of course, but I still am not comfortable trusting some institution with thousands of workers who have access to my private information, when clearly nobody controls who and why accesses it.

My medical information is not needed unless I am ill, in which case I can take the responsibility to provide it or to deal with the popential medical consequences. So is there any law that would allow me to do that and wipe my records from the untrustworthy institutionalized machine?

  • 2
    "My medical information is not needed unless I am ill": Think a little deeper about that. There are many other reasons why your medical provider might need records of your care, beyond for caring for you when ill. Justifying their billing, defending themselves in case you sue, tracking the work done by their staff, tracking follow-up care, detecting drug-seeking behavior or other abuse of the medical system, etc, etc. Sep 21, 2021 at 4:00
  • "... in which case I can take the responsibility to provide it or to deal with the popential [sic] medical consequences." You cannot just assume the liability off other people. They may be under obligation by law or employer policy, to take responsibility for patient care and record accuracy (I would be very surprised if they were not!).
    – user4657
    Sep 21, 2021 at 5:37
  • I can understand that, thanks for explaining and clarifying.
    – user40988
    Sep 21, 2021 at 18:57

1 Answer 1


Short answer: You can not deny them having records

Data Privay laws in the Eu allow any service provider to process data under a necessity standard. Medical professionals are required by law to keep records and review them as needed, which meets all the necessary standards. Because of that, you can not ask them not to keep records. Your medical information is needed not just when you are ill, but your doctor might need to check for if you need for example a fresh dose of Thetanus-vaccine or be aware of chronic illnesses, so he has to regularly familiarize themselves with their active patients - which is in part what the file is for.

You can however ask for a copy of your file to consult a 2nd opinion or change doctors. This does not make the file go away though, it still needs to be retained for 10 years (or more) since your last visit.

What you didn't ask: They mare not share the contents

Doctors may only share the contents of medical files on a very strict need to know basis. The staff at their clinic may need to know for billing and sending letters. But he may not provide the information to someone that does not need the information for a purpose of the clinic and is not part of it: if the concerned neighbor asks, the clinic may not even provide information that or if someone is a patient!

  • Thanks for explaining so well. Is there anything I can do when I know that it is considered common practice to access peoples' data for non-medical reasons here and even sharing it with others (friends, maybe even strangers, they asked me to tell them if I'm dating someone if I want info on them, they don't ask for payment and said it's common). A doctor friend I had for a couple of years now also checks up on everyone they know insurance status, address, etc, and she is crazy about her exes and "tracking" them. I'm sure that's illegal but reporting individuals won't help in the big picture.
    – user40988
    Sep 21, 2021 at 19:01
  • Another question, you said it's 10 years. Is everything automatically removed after 10 years or can I ask for the data to be destroyed (after getting a copy)?
    – user40988
    Sep 21, 2021 at 19:01

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