This authority covers records documenting the provision of health care to patients and clients of NSW public offices. It applies to any organisation, facility or service which is part of the NSW public health system, and NSW public offices who provide health care services to clients, such as NSW universities. Records of private hospitals, services, nursing homes, centres etc. are not State records and are not covered in this disposal authority. They should be retained and disposed of in accordance with any requirements of the Act or regulations under which the establishment is licensed.
Statement of authority
|GDA No||GDA 17|
|Public office||This authority applies to:
|Scope||This general retention and disposal authority covers records documenting the provision of health care to patients and clients of NSW public offices.|
|Authority||This general retention and disposal authority is issued under section 21(2)(c) of the State Records Act. It has been approved by the Board of the State Records Authority in accordance with section 21(3) of the State Records Act.|
19 May 2004
30 May 2019
GDA17 was originally issued in 2004 with a number of minor amendments in 2006, 2009 and 2011. In 2019 the entire authority was reviewed. Details of amendments are listed in the pdf.
Patients with more than one patient file
Public health services may be managing hybrid systems where there are paper and digital records for the same patient. In some cases, it is not possible to identify if an earlier file relates to an existing patient because of common names, changes of address or insufficient recording of details. Some of these files may have been inherited from another health provider with very little in the way of listing or control systems.
For admitted patients, it is best practice to retain records relating to the same patient as if they were part of the same record, and not to destroy any parts until the minimum retention period for the later admission has been reached. It is not always possible to determine whether a previous file will be relevant or not for the current care of a patient, and they may show a pattern of incidents - this is especially so for vulnerable patients.
However, if the case files have reached the minimum retention period, and they do not relate to a current patient, or it is not actually possible to tell if they relate to a current patient, health services should institute the normal internal approval processes to destroy the records. Retaining patient records beyond what they are required for clinical purposes, or for longer than the minimum retention periods set out in this authority, could be a breach of privacy legislation.
This advice relates primarily to patients who are admitted to hospitals (entries 1.1.1 and 1.1.2). In cases where an admitted patient has also attended outpatients clinics or community – based health care, a risk assessment should be conducted to confirm whether it is appropriate to apply the lesser retention period.
Use of GDA17 by public offices other than local health districts
GDA17 has been authorised for use by public offices who are not part of a local health district but provide health services. These public offices should use use entry 1.2.1 applying to community based health care.
Please see below for downloadable versions of GDA17 in PDF and Excel, as well as the index and linking table from the 2004 version of GDA17 to the 2019 version. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you require an XML version.