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Recordings for use in public media

36. In general, the considerations set out in paragraphs 16 and 22-27 also apply to recordings for use in widely accessible public media that are intended for a broad public audience, for example, to inform or educate the general public. There are, however, some issues set out below that are specific to recordings used in this context.

37. You must get the patient's consent, which should usually be in writing, to make a recording that will be used in widely accessible public media, whether or not you consider the patient will be identifiable from the recording, other than for the recordings listed in paragraph 10.

38. In some cases you may wish to publish in widely accessible public media a recording of a patient which was made as part of their care, although you did not get consent for this at the time the recording was made. Where this is the case, you must get the patient’s consent if the patient is, or may be, identifiable (see paragraph 15). If the recording is anonymised, it is good practice to seek consent before publishing it. However, if it is not practicable to do so, you may publish the recording, bearing in mind that it may be difficult to ensure that all features of a recording that could identify the patient to any member of the public have been removed.

39. Before making any arrangements for individuals or organisations to record patients, their relatives or their visitors in a healthcare setting or context, you must get agreement from your employing or contracting body, and from the organisation in which the patients are being treated if this is different. Within the NHS, a contract with the filmmaker will normally be required. If in doubt, you should seek advice from your employing or contracting body; for example, from your department of medical illustration or a Caldicott Guardian19 or equivalent.

40. If you are involved in recording patients for broadcast media, you should satisfy yourself that patients' consent has been obtained in accordance with this guidance, even if you are not responsible for getting that consent or do not have control of the recording process. The Ofcom Broadcasting Code,20 which covers all UK broadcasters, requires consent to be obtained in a way that is consistent with this guidance.

41. In addition, you should check that patients understand that, once they have agreed to the recording being made for broadcast on television or radio, they may not be able to stop its subsequent use. If patients wish to restrict the use of material, they should be advised to get agreement in writing from the programme maker and/or the owners of the recording, before recording begins.

42. You should be particularly vigilant about recordings involving patients who may be vulnerable to intrusions in their privacy and dignity. If you believe that the recording is unduly intrusive or damaging to patients' interests, you should raise the issue with the patient and/or the programme makers, even where the patient has consented to the recording. If you remain concerned you should withdraw your co-operation.