Making and using visual and audio recordings of patients (summary)



When making or using recordings you must respect patients’ privacy and dignity, and their right to make or participate in decisions that affect them. This means that you must:

  • give patients the information they want, or need, about the purpose of the recording
  • make recordings only where you have appropriate consent or other valid authority for doing so
  • ensure that patients are under no pressure to give their consent for the recording to be made
  • where practicable, stop the recording if the patient asks you to, or if it is having an adverse effect on the consultation or treatment
  • anonymise or code recordings before using or disclosing them for a secondary purpose, if this is practicable and will serve the purpose
  • disclose or use recordings from which patients may be identifiable only with consent or other valid authority for doing so
  • make appropriate secure arrangements for storing recordings
  • be familiar with, and follow, the law4  and local guidance and procedures that apply where you work.5 

Relevant legislation includes, for example, the Data protection law, Freedom of Information Act 2000 and the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002, and the mental capacity legislation in England, Wales and Scotland. If in doubt about your legal obligations, you should seek advice from your defence organisation.


You should seek advice from your employing or contracting body on how to access and comply with local policies and procedures; for example, from your local medical illustration department, or a Caldicott Guardian or equivalent.


And you must not:

  • make, or participate in making, recordings against a patient’s wishes, or where a recording may cause the patient harm
  • disclose or use recordings for purposes outside the scope of the original consent without obtaining further consent (except in the circumstances set out in paragraphs 10 and 15-17).