§ Mr. David Atkinson
To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will require hospitals to consult with the patients concerned prior to the destruction of their medical records after the required minimum period of eight years; and if she will make a statement.
§ Mr. Sackville
It would be impractical to require hospitals to trace and consult all patients before the destruction of their personal health records.
The decision as to how long records should be kept is a matter for the hospital concerned, in consultation with health professionals. The minimum periods recommended in departmental guidance HC(89)20 and HSG(94)11, take account of a number of factors, including the potential need for research purposes, the possibility of complaints by patients and the time limits for bringing action in the courts. Copies of the guidance are available in the Library.