The purpose of the investigation was to examine the utilization of the Danish legislation concerning access to case records by means of a prospective registration and questionnaire. During the investigation-period (1.3.1987-29.02.1988) 50 requests were made of which only one was refused for a limited period. The patients requesting to read their records differed from the total population of hospitalized patients as regards diagnosis as significantly more schizofrenic and fewer patients with diagnoses of drug abuse, were found. One of the 32 patients who actually read their records became more psychotic afterwards and two patients stated that they had become agitated. However, 15 patients felt calmer and 29 patients (90.6%) stated that the purpose of requesting access to their records had been fulfilled. The overall impression is that the law, which came into effect 1.1.1987, has functioned adequately although a more restrictive attitude would perhaps have reduced the negative influence on the psychotic conditions observed in three patients.
During 1987, all requests for access to case records at the Psychiatric Hospital in Vordingborg were registered prospectively. Fifty-nine patients made a total of 69 requests for access to case records. The total time used by the staff in connection with the requests was 51 hours and 47 minutes. Of all the patients admitted to the hospital in 1987 only 3.7% asked for access to case records. No serious problems in relation to this were registered. There was a significant tendency for the younger patients, the patients with non-psychotic disorders, and especially patients with borderline disorders to ask for access to their records more frequently.