History of HARG

The Health Archives and Records Group (HARG) was first convened in 1989 as an informal gathering of (mostly London-based) hospital archivists. It was known first as the Health Authority Archivists’ Group, then (and until 2006) as the Health Archives Group. The Group provided archivists with opportunities to share best practice as well as to network at meetings. One early initiative resulted in the 1996 publication of a booklet on ‘Hospital Patient Case Records: A Guide to Their Retention and Disposal’ (subsequently revised and reissued on the web in 2002 and 2006). Health Service Circular 1999/053 (‘For the Record’) commended this booklet and listed the Health Archives Group as a source of advice on recordkeeping matters. Other initiatives included: successful lobbying for the inclusion of an optional ‘archives clause’ into the first model publication schemes written by the Department of Health for NHS Trusts in 2003; publication of a ‘Best Practice Guide’ for archivists and records managers on access to medical records under the Freedom of Information Act (‘After the Hundred Year Rule’) in 2004; and significant input into the Department of Health’s NHS Code of Practice on Records Management issued in 2006 to supersede ‘For the Record’.