You must obtain permission to make, and consent to use; any recording made for reasons other than the patient's treatment or assessment.
Before the recording, you must ensure that patients:
- Understand the purpose of the recording, who will be allowed to see it – including names if they are known – the circumstances in which it will be shown, whether copies will be made, the arrangements for storage and how long the recording will be kept.
- Understand that withholding permission for the recording to be made, or withdrawing permission during the recording, will not affect the quality of care they receive.
- Are given time to read explanatory material and to consider the implications of giving their written permission.
After the recording, you must ensure that:
- Patients are asked if they want to vary or withdraw their consent to the use of the recording.
- Recordings are used only for the purpose for which patients have given consent.
- Patients are given the chance, if they wish, to see the recording in the form in which it will be shown.
- Recordings are given the same level of protection as medical records against improper disclosure.
- If a patient withdraws or fails to confirm consent for the use of the recording, the recording is not used and is erased as soon as possible
10.1 Recordings of Emergency Treatment and of Unconscious Patients
If recordings are to be used only for training or clinical audit, you may record patients who need emergency treatment but cannot give their permission for the recording to be made. You do not need a relative's agreement before starting the recording but must stop it if a relative objects. Before these recordings are used, however, the patient's consent must be obtained or, if the patient has died, a relative must agree to it.
When no recording has been planned, but a record of an unexpected development would make a valuable educational tool, you may record patients undergoing treatment. If you cannot get permission at the time because, for example, the patient is anaesthetised, you must ensure the patient is later told about the recording and gives consent to its use.
With recordings made in these circumstances, you must follow patient's instructions about erasure or storage. The only exception is if you think you need to disclose the recording because of the advice in the GMC booklet on Confidentiality for example to protect the patient or others from risk of death or serious harm.
10.2 Existing collections used for teaching purposes
Some doctors may have existing collections of recordings, which they use solely for teaching purposes within a medical setting. Both this policy, and guidance published in 1997 by the GMC, requires permission to be obtained to make any recording which is not part of the patient's assessment or treatment, regardless of whether the patient may be identifiable. However, recordings may have been made for teaching purposes prior to 1997 without it being recorded whether or not permission had been obtained. Such collections may have a significant value for teaching purposes.
You may continue to use recordings from which the patient is not identifiable, and which were made for teaching purposes prior to 1997. You should, however, seek to replace such recordings at the earliest opportunity with similar recordings for which permission can be shown to have been obtained. You may also continue to use effectively anonymised recordings that were originally made for treatment or assessment purposes, in line with paragraph 9 above. However, you should not use any recording, from which a patient may be identifiable, for teaching purposes if you cannot demonstrate that consent has been obtained for that use.