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Coronavirus (COVID-19) - our advice for doctors

We recognise that this is a very difficult and worrying time for doctors. Our professional standards provide a framework for ethical decision making in a wide range of situations. They should be followed as far as practical in the circumstances. We're regularly updating our advice for doctors as the situation develops.

Making and using visual and audio recordings of patients

There may be many reasons why you need to make a visual or audio recording of a patient. If you do then this guidance is for you. It reminds you:

  • to respect important ethical principles of consent and confidentiality
  • that a recording made as part of a patient's care is part of their medical record and must be treated in the same way as any other medical record.

The guidance includes eight key principles to practice. And explains when you will need specific patient consent and what to do if your patient doesn't have capacity. There is also a section on recording telephone calls. As well as recordings made for wider accessible public media, such as the TV or internet.

Confidentiality is another important factor. This is why we have included advice on what to consider when storing or disposing of recordings, and using a recording of a deceased patient.

This guidance came into effect 9 May 2011. 

Download the guidance

You can download the guidance in English or Welsh.

Making and using visual and audio recordings of patients (English)
Making and using visual and audio recordings of patients (Welsh)