Actually RichY, it was a very long time ago, if it ever was. The thing is, because so many institutions refused to allocate personnel or create procedures for patients to view and/or take a copy of their records, they acted as if it was not allowed. Doctors followed suit. Thirty years ago I began treatment with a dentist who included the doctor's visit notes with the financial paperwork at every visit. They also called my office if they were running more than 10 minutes late-- but that is a whole different discussion.
A few years later, I saw a doctor whose staff handed us the whole paper file when we checked in, as well as my own copy of anything that transpired (notes, test results, etc) at the last visit. When I went into the doctor's office I handed over the file to him. He created a cassette tapes of every consultation which he handed over when I left his office. He and his staff RESPECTED their clients.
From that time on to present, I ALWAYS ask for and get a copy of everything in my file. I wonder when "they were only for medical staff and the patient was not allowed access to the notes, ever" was actually a legal practice.