"Tavistock & Portman NHS Foundation Trust"

About: Tavistock And Portman NHS Foundation Trust

(as the patient),

I was shocked to read inaccuracies in Tavistock & Portman NHS Foundation Trust's document recodrs retention and disposal schedule (RecordsRetention_Disposal.doc), where they write that the retention period for patient case records is "20 Years after no further treatment considered necessary" for "Mentally disordered persons (within the meaning of the Mental Health Act 1983)", otherwise "8 years after conclusion of treatment" for "General (not covered above)".

The actual minimum retention period is 30 years, published in Records Management: NHS Code of Practice - Part 2

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Response from Care Opinion

Response posted on behalf of Tavistock And Portman NHS Foundation Trust:

These procedures are governed by law and from good practice guidelines (in this case from the Department of Health and the Royal College of Psychiatrists). Our procedure is derived from the national guidelines issued by the Department of Health, in fact it has used them word for word in section 2:

“Records selected for archival preservation and no longer in regular use by the

organisation should be transferred as soon as possible to an archival institution

(for example a Place of Deposit) that has adequate storage and public access

facilities and no later than 30 years from creation of the record, as required by

the Public Records Act.”

It may be that the commentator refers to the table in which reference is made to the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ guidelines for patients under sections of the Act:

“Mentally disordered persons (within the meaning of the Mental Health Act 1983) 20 years after the last entry in the record or 8 years after the patient’s death if patient died while in the care of the organisation.”

“NB Mental health organisations may wish to keep mental health records for up to 30 years before review. Records must be kept as complete records for the first 20 years in accordance with this retention schedule but records may then be summarised and kept in summary format for the additional 10-year period.”

It is important to read the ‘nb’ which follows the 20-year reference, and refer to the Trust’s own procedure in section 2 above. In practice, this reference does not apply in any case as all Trust patients are voluntary.”

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