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Take the poll: How long should medical records be maintained?

M3 India Newsdesk Nov 26, 2019

Dr. MC Gupta answers questions on record keeping under the PNDT act and rules applicable for maintaining records of in- and out-patients in a hospital.

Before you begin, take the poll to let us know what you think the answer could be.

QUESTION-- As per law, what is the time duration for which records are to be maintained for outdoor and indoor patients? What is the duration of record keeping under PNDT act?


1—Hospital Records are to be kept for the duration specified in the relevant act applicable in the state. About 20 states have the Clinical Establishments Act, which is modelled on the central Clinical Establishments Act, 2010. Draft Rules under the CEA for the Central Government read as follows:

“Copies of all records and statistics shall be kept with the clinical establishment concerned for at least 3 or 5 years or in accordance with any other relevant Act in force at the time under Section 12(1) (iii))”.

2—As per the guidelines issued by the Central Government, DGHS, hospitals under its control should maintain OPD records for 5 years and indoor and medico-legal records for 10 years.

3—Please note that the time of three years given in the Indian Medical Council (Professional conduct, Etiquette and Ethics) Regulations, 2002, has nothing to do with maintenance of hospital records. The medical council has nothing to do with hospitals, which do not fall under its jurisdiction.

4—Rule 9(6) of the Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) Rules, 1996, is reproduced below--

“(6) All case related records, forms of consent, laboratory results, microscopic pictures, sonographic plates or slides, recommendations and letters shall be preserved by the Genetic Counselling Centre, Genetic Laboratory or Genetic Clinic for a period of two years from the date of completion of counselling, pre-natal diagnostic procedure or pre-natal diagnostic test, as the case may be. In the event of any legal proceedings, the records shall be preserved till the final disposal of legal proceedings, or till the expiry of the said period of two years, whichever is later.”


Disclaimer- The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author's and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of M3 India.

Content from the writer has been directly replicated on the website. No edits have been made.

The writer, Dr. MC Gupta is a practising lawyer specialising in medical negligence cases. He also has an MD Medicine from AIIMS, Delhi where he also worked as a faculty member for 18 years, later working another 10 years as a Professor and Dean at National Institute of Health and Family Welfare, New Delhi, before pursuing law.

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