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Patient Data: To destroy or not to destroy?


The importance of data in delivering safe and effective care cannot be overstated. Patients deserve access to their records when needed and maintaining them according to a consistent retention schedule is crucial to prevent premature destruction.

In the UK, guidelines for record retention vary depending on the type and context of the records. It’s essential to adopt a pragmatic approach that aligns with both patient needs and practice requirements. For example, while a registration form might be eligible for destruction after six years, it might be prudent to retain it for the entirety of the care or retention period.

Ensuring compliance with data retention regulations requires attention to detail and proactive measures. 

Here are our top tips to stay on track:

  1. Clearly label and organise records to easily identify their types, such as registration forms, pathology results, or clinic letters.
  2. Develop a retention schedule tailored to your practice’s specific needs and circumstances, keeping in mind the practicalities of managing data within your clinic.
  3. Educate all staff on the principles of data safety and emphasise the importance of adhering to retention guidelines.
  4. Maintain thorough documentation of data destruction activities, ensuring transparency and accountability in your record-keeping practices.

By implementing these strategies, you can navigate the complexities of data retention with confidence, ensuring both compliance and the integrity of patient care. We can also help and support you. 

If you are interested in further reading, these links are helpful:




Don’t let health compliance become a burden. With a commitment to transparency, credibility, and patient-centred care, we bring a fresh perspective to risk management, process optimisation, and patient outcomes.

Get in touch today for your free consultation. 

Contact Becky: 07797 897788 hello@bpmhealthsolutions.com