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Medical Records

Volume 984: debated on Thursday 15 May 1980

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

There are recommended minimum periods for which hospital medical records must be kept, regardless of whether the patient is still resident in the United Kingdom. These vary from six years to indefinitely, depending on the type of medical record but, in practice, most hospitals prefer to retain medical records for much longer than the recommended minimum periods.The medical records of patients, which have been compiled by general medical practioners, are retained for a minimum period of two years after a person leaves the United Kingdom. They are then liable to be destroyed.The minimum periods for the retention of records is under review.