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National Health Service Patients (Medical Records)

Volume 984: debated on Monday 12 May 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services for how long the medical records of patients in the National Health Service who have left the United Kingdom are retained before being destroyed.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what guidelines are issued by his Department concerning the length of time for which National Health Service medical records should be kept after a person's death.

Minimum periods for which medical records should be kept are recommended in guidance issued by the Department; in the case of hospital medical records these are from six years upwards depending on the type of record and apply irrespective of whether the patient is still in the United Kingdom.Guidance to family practitioner committees recommends that general practitioners' medical records should be kept for at least three years after a patient has died or has left the United Kingdom.New guidance to be issued shortly will increase the recommended minimum periods of retention for personal health records—other than those held by family practitioner committees—to take account of the provisions of the Limitations Act 1975 and the Congenital Disabilities (Civil Liability) Act 1976.