Frequently Asked Questions

General
Access
Copying
Content


General

Q: I'm looking for information on current health services in Tayside. Have I come to the right site?
Q: What area does Tayside cover?
Q: Are the records of all Tayside Hospitals held at Dundee University Archives?

Access to Collections

Q: Am I allowed access to my medical records?
Q: Can I gain access to closed patient records?
Q: Are any of the records confidential?
Q: I am unable to visit the Archives in person. Can research be carried out there on my behalf?

Copying Records

Q: Can I obtain photocopies of any relevant records? How much does this cost?

Content of Collections

Q: I'm doing my family history and I've discovered my ancestor was a patient at a local hospital. What sort of information will you be able to provide?
Q: My ancestor was a member of staff at a local hospital. What sort of information will you be able to provide?
Q: I am researching the history of a hospital. Do you have records to help me?
Q: I am interested in records relating to medical research/ treatment of patients. Are there any?


Answers



Q:I'm looking for information on current health services in Tayside. Have I come to the right site?

A:No. For information on current Tayside Health Board services, please visit www.nhstayside.scot.nhs.uk.

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Q: What area does Tayside cover?

A: Dundee, Angus and Perth & Kinross are located in Tayside.

Click here for a map of Tayside

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Q: Are the records of all Tayside Hospitals held at Dundee University Archives?

A: Current patient records are held in the hospitals themselves. Dundee University Archives is the custodian of non-current archive records for Tayside Health Board. Archive hospital records for Dundee and Angus hospitals are generally held at Dundee University Archives, though some are still held at the hospitals themselves. Some hospital records for Perth & Kinross are currently held at Dundee University Archives, please contact the Archives for details. Check the Medical History related Links for details of medical holdings in Dundee, Perth & Kinross and Angus Local Authority Archives.

Click here for Summary Lists of THB records held at Dundee University Archives.

Click here for Links

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Q: Am I allowed access to my medical records?

A: Under the terms of the Data Protection Act 1998 everyone is allowed access to information relating to themselves. Therefore you can now get access to your own medical records, regardless of when they were created. If the records are fairly recent your best course of action is to approach your GP or specialist in the first instance.

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Q: Can I gain access to closed patient records?

A: At present, patient records under the terms of the Data Protection Act 1998, are allowed to be viewed by the patient. Under special circumstances, such as if you are the patientsí next-of-kin, access may be granted. If you are conducting valid research it may be possible to view the records on the understanding that no personal details will be used. Please contact the Archives for further information.

Click here for Access Restrictions

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Q: Are any of the records confidential?

A: Yes. Any records containing sensitive personal data regarding staff or patients are deemed to be confidential. Hence patient records are closed to the public for 100 years. Under the terms of the Data Protection Act 1998 you are not allowed access to the medical records of living individuals.

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Q: I am unable to visit the Archives in person. Can research be carried out there on my behalf?

A: Archives staff can answer enquiries and will spend a short amount of time looking for information if requested. However if an enquiry takes more than 30 minutes a charge may be levied.

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Q: Can I obtain photocopies of any relevant records? How much does this cost?

A: The copying of records is subject to copyright restrictions and to preservation requirements. The Archives is able to photocopy or scan items. Scanned images can be provided on cd, by email, or can be printed out on high quality paper. Please contact Archive staff for details of costs. We regret that researchers are not allowed to use their own cameras in the search room.

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Q: I'm doing my family history and I've discovered my ancestor was a patient at a local hospital. What sort of information will you be able to provide?

A: Registers of Admissions, Discharges and Deaths are held for most hospitals in Tayside, and many case files survive. Death Registers usually includes dates of admittance. Case Books include detailed accounts of patientsí symptoms and treatment and in the case of asylums, any family history of insanity. Many Case Books include photographs of the patients as well as relevant correspondence and press cuttings. Petitions and Warrants for Admission to Asylum can give futher details. A Petition was legally required to be submitted to the local Sheriff, accompanied by 2 medical certificates. A warrant would then be granted by the Sheriff for the admission of the patient into the Asylum. Background medical and biographical details can be found in these Petitions. Maternity Registers include names, addresses and ages of mothers, as well as birth details, dates and weights of infants. Many patient records are subject to access restrictions and not all have survived.

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Q: My ancestor was a member of staff at a local hospital. What sort of information will you be able to provide?

A: Surviving staff records vary from hospital to hospital in Tayside. You may expect to find one or more of the following: Registers of Employees give staff names, addresses and lengths of service, often including details of training and previous experience. Wage Books are useful for giving occupations, length of service and financial details. Some photographs exist. Nurses Registers give details of training and work experience. Staff Research Papers and files can be illuminating in tracing career profiles. Some staff records contain sensitive personal data and are subject to access restrictions in accordance with the Data Protection Act of 1998.

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Q: I am researching the history of a hospital. Do you have records to help me?

A: Yes. Minute Books and Annual Reports give details of charters of institution, bye-laws and regulations, building and alteration work and staff appointments. These records also afford us with an insight into the daily running of the institutions, e.g. statistics on food and drink consumption give us an idea of patient diets. You can also expect to find statistical tables on patient numbers, diseases, ages, etc.

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Q: I am interested in records relating to medical research/ treatment of patients. Are there any?

A: Yes. Many collections hold manuscript and published Medical Research Papers. In particular, the Chromatographic Unit at Dundee Royal Liff Hospital was a pioneer in the research of PKU (Phenylketonuria). Pathological Registers are held for Sunnyside Royal Hospital and some include drawings. Dr. Howdenís Daily Reports meticulously record the effects of weather conditions and temperatures on patientsí symptoms and the incidence of epileptic seizures at Sunnyside Royal Hospital in the 19th century. A fine collection of Pathological Drawings can be found in the MS 16 collection. Case Books include detailed accounts of causes, symptoms and treatment of diseases. Annual Reports include statistical tables recording diseases, causes of death, etc. Theatre Operation Registers are held for Dundee Royal Infirmary and Maryfield Hospital.

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Designed by: Matthew Davis