Records Management Code of Practice

The Records Management Code of Practice has been published as a guide to the required standards of practice in the management of records for those who work within or under contract to NHS organisations in England. It is based on current legal requirements and professional best practice.

The Code provides a key component of information governance arrangements for the NHS. This is an evolving document because standards and practice covered by the Code will change over time. It will therefore be subject to regular review and updated as necessary.

The guidelines contained in this Code of Practice apply to NHS records of all types (including records of NHS patients treated on behalf of the NHS in the private healthcare sector) regardless of the media on which they are held.

These may consist of:

  • patient health records (electronic or paper based, including those concerning all specialties, and GP medical records);
  • records of private patients seen on NHS premises;
  • Accident & Emergency, birth, and all other registers;
  • theatre registers and minor operations (and other related) registers;
  • administrative records (including, for example, personnel, estates, financial and accounting records; notes associated with complaint-handling);
    • X-ray and imaging reports, output and images;
    • photographs, slides, and other images;
    • microform (ie microfiche/microfilm);
    • audio and video tapes, cassettes, CD-ROM etc;
    • e-mails;
    • computerised records;
    • scanned records;
    • text messages (both outgoing from the NHS and incoming responses from the patient).


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