‘How do I know how long to keep patient records?'

In this month's feature Rachael Wadlow, CSP professional adviser, answers your questions

Rachael Wadlow CSP professional adviser
Rachael Wadlow CSP professional adviser

Record keeping is a fundamental part of physiotherapy practice and a legal requirement. Health and Care Professions Council registrants must keep full, clear and accurate records to meet their professional standards. Each UK country sets out minimum retention periods, specifying the shortest period of time that different types of NHS health records must be kept. For example, in Scotland the minimum retention period for adults is six years; in England it is eight. Practise context and patient group may also affect retention periods: for example, children’s physiotherapy records and occupational health records. Any variance from the minimum retention period is outlined in country guidance. 

Organisations will have a record keeping policy with retention schedules specifying locally agreed retention times based on national guidance and organisational or service requirements. 

Members in private practice are expected to mirror NHS guidance for their country, considering contextual factors.

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