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Reply To: Time frame for keeping records -hard copy and digital

Jo Clarke

Hello this is information I kept from a previous query in January 2021….
Diaries: 2 years – see the RCSLT guidance here –


Data protection principles state; information must not be retained longer than needed for purpose (General Data Protection Regulation (Rec 39 Art 5)) and protects the rights for the individual to request their personal data is erased (Art 17) under certain circumstances, although the right to erasure is usually not applicable to health records.

Retention schedules for health records may be specified in your employer’s local policies and guidance on record management. The retention schedules defined in the Record Management Code of Practice for Health and Social Care Records (2016) Appendix 3 are considered best practice in the absence of local policies. A summary is provided here. Please refer to the original document for full details.

Current guidance:

Records should be retained for:
Children and young people: up until their 25th birthday, or, till their 26th birthday, if 17 at conclusion of their treatment.
School records for children with special educational needs: 35 years from the date of closure.
Mentally disordered person (within the meaning of the Mental Health Act 1983): 20 years after the last entry.
Everyone else: eight years.
Type of record to be retained:
Speech and language records: for the period of time appropriate to the patient/specialty as above)
Parent advice and information regarding educational needs: for 12 years from closure
Pupil Action Plans: for three years from date of plan
Individual Education Plans: Until 25 years of age, minimum
Statement maintained under the Education Act 1996: Until 30 years of age
Employee records: for six years after leaving service
Payee records: for six years
Medical photographs, illustrations, audio and video records (including tale-medicine): for time appropriate to speciality
Scanned records: for amount of time appropriate to speciality
Clinical audit records: for five years
Occupational health records: for three years after termination of employment
Diaries: for two years after the year the diary relates to
Records/documents related to litigation: as advised by an organisations legal adviser
Research records: for a minimum of five years after the conclusion of the trial, or for as long as they have relevance to the original or other research teams
Risk assessment records: until a new one replaces it
Agendas of meetings: for two years; board meetings for 30 years
Complaints: for eight years from completion of action
Patient information leaflets: for six years after leaflet suspended
Equipment records and logs: for 11 years

My understanding is that if I saw a child back in 2003 for example and completed episode of care before they were 17, I keep records etc for 8 years and then destroy? Am I correct or not?