Dear Department of Health and Social Care,

I understand that there are minimum periods for which personal health records are retained by the NHS, and that some documents are retained beyond the statutory period because they have research or historical value with some being stored permanently in the National Archives.

I would like to find out the number of individuals for whom personal health records are currently being permanently retained and the format of those records (e.g. paper, X-rays, photographs, computer disks).

Additionally, I wish to know who is responsible for the decision to either retain documents or dispose of them once the statutory retention period has passed.

Yours faithfully,

A J Preston ( )

Department of Health and Social Care

Our ref: DE-1178143


Dear Mr/Ms Preston,
Thank you for your correspondence of 31 May about retained health records.
 I have been asked to reply.

The Freedom of Information Act only applies to recorded information such
as paper or electronic archive material.  As your correspondence asked for
general information, rather than requesting recorded information or
documentation, it did not fall under the provisions of the Act.

As you may be aware, the Department of Health and Social Care does not
hold or store personal health records.  These are held by various NHS
organisations, which act as data controllers for those records.  The data
controller is responsible for the retention and destruction of its records
in accordance with statutory provisions.


I hope this reply is helpful.

Yours sincerely,
Ola Adigun
Ministerial Correspondence and Public Enquiries
Department of Health and Social Care



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