Video and Audio Recordings

The GMC has issued guidance (19) requiring doctors to inform patients before making a video or audio recording and, except in situations in which consent may be understood from a patient's cooperation with a procedure (e.g., radiographic investigation), to obtain his or her explicit consent. Doctors may make recordings without consent in exceptional circumstances, such as when it is believed that a child has been the victim of abuse.

If a recording has been made in the course of investigation or treatment of a patient but the doctor now wishes to use it for another purpose, the patient's consent must be obtained. Recordings are not to be published or broadcast in any form without the explicit, written consent of the patient. Consent is required before recordings are published in textbooks or journals or before the public is allowed access to them.

If patients can be identified from recordings, a doctor must ensure that the interests and well-being of the patient take precedence over all other considerations. This is especially so for patients who are mentally ill or disabled, seriously ill, or children or other vulnerable people. When disability prevents patients from giving informed consent, the GMC advises the doctor to obtain agreement from a close relative or caregiver; where children lack the understanding to consent, the permission of the parent or guardian is recommended.

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