Hospital Records Surprise

Wrote ro my local hospital requesting my old medical records. None available, ‘after the age of 25 the hospital has an 8 year retention policy for records when a patient has not attended there for a related treatment.’ In 2000 I was in hospital, loads of tests lumbar puncture,scans etc.and told it was ‘probably m.s.’ 6 months ago after a gap of 12 years m.s. reard its ugly head - back in hospital - they had no records of tests etc. done 11 years ago. I wonder how many other people are turning up at hospital with m.s. symptoms after a long gap to find no record of previous consultations. Any wonder why have problems getting diagnosed/ taken seriously.

Similar scenario cropped up recently, with another poster. I checked at the time, and it is indeed the case that hospitals are only legally obliged to retain adult records for eight years. I suppose the cost of storage would be prohibitive, if they retained everything - even for patients they hadn’t seen for years, who might have emigrated, or even died. Even computerised storage isn’t free - plus there are the costs of getting it all scanned or re-entered in the first place, if it was originally hardcopy. It’s hard on patients like yourself, who need to revisit old history. But I suppose they can’t justify keeping everything forever, because of a small number of cases like that.

Wouldn’t it still be in your GP’s notes? They have much longer retention, I think, and anything the hospital found should have been notified to the GP in any case. OK, they almost certainly won’t have the original scans, but they should have a summary of the findings. Might be better than nothing?


Postcode lottery again…the hospital that I am with still have my records, scans etc from 2002.

The crucial difference is probably that you’re still with them! I doubt they knowingly destroy records of patients who are still on the books currently. But if the patient hasn’t been seen or heard of for years?



I hadn’t been seen by them at all since I was discharged in 2002 until I was referred as a new patient in September 2012.

Maybe just fortunate they hadn’t got round to binning them yet, in that case? I guess there are differences in how strictly or promptly they discard when time is up. If they only have a clearout once every few years, you might be lucky and get away with it for some time past the eight year limit. But if the spring-clean took place soon after your eight years were up, tough luck, I suppose. I still think the GP’s notes might hold the key. There should be something in them about Stenovski’s previous hospital investigations, even if they wouldn’t be as comprehensive as the original hospital notes.

As far as I know, my insurers didn’t even contact the hospital (though I was asked to give an address), as they got everything they needed from the GP’s records. All the important hospital findings were in there.


Absolutely…my GP has a record of my scarlet fever…aged about 6 months old and in Berlin !!

I saw my GP on wednesday and asked her if she had my records of LP and diagnosis from 1988 at Guildford Hospital. She told me they have everything! I was very pleasantly suprised as I really didn’t expect a positive answer, especially as its 25 years later and I now live in Romsey!