Record Retention

A wide variety of records are held across the HSE including healthcare records, financial records, HR records and general administrative records. Traditionally, records were paper-based but in recent times an increasing number of records are being stored electronically.

Definition of a Record

A record is defined under the Freedom of Information Act 2014 as "any memorandum, book, plan, map, drawing, diagram, pictorial or graphic work or other document, any photograph, film or recording (whether of sound or images or both), any form in which data (within the meaning of the Data Protection Act, 1988 and 2003) are held, any other form (including machine-readable form) or device in which information is held or stored manually, mechanically or electronically and anything that is a part or a copy, in any form of any of the foregoing or is a combination of two or more of the foregoing" (Freedom of Information Act, 2014).

Records created by the HSE should be both accurate and complete. They must provide evidence of the function or activity they were created to document. In order to be evidential, records must be authentic, reliable, have integrity and be useable.


Records retained should be original (or an electronic copy, transferred using the appropriate and verifiable system), unique or of continuing importance to the HSE. They should have care delivery, legal, fiscal, administrative or historical purpose.

Record Retention Periods

ULH is committed to effective records management retention and disposal to ensure that it:

  • meets legal standards in terms of retention periods;
  • optimises the use of space;
  • minimises the cost of record retention;
  • securely destroys outdated records