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

Storing and disposing of recordings


Recordings made as part of the patient’s care will form part of the medical record. They must be treated in the same way as other medical records, and you should be clear about the responsibility for the control and use of such recordings. If you make a recording for secondary purposes, you must satisfy yourself that there is agreement about the ownership, copyright, and intellectual property rights of the recording.


Anonymised recordings may belong to an employing or contracting body. You should make sure that you understand your contractual or other rights to hold and use recordings, particularly if you change your employer or contracting body. If in doubt, you should seek advice from a Caldicott Guardian or equivalent.


The UK health departments publish guidance on how long health records should be kept and how they should be disposed of. The guidance covers recordings made as part of a patient’s care or as part of research. You should follow the guidance whether or not you work in the NHS.26 


The NHS Code of Practice Records Management Code of Practice for Health and Social Care (Information Governance Alliance, 2016); Records Management: NHS Code of Practice (Scotland) (Scottish Government, 2012), Welsh Health Circular (2000) 71: For The Record (The National Assembly for Wales, 2000) and Good Management, Good Records (Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, 2011) all include advice on storing and disposing of recordings made as part of a patient’s care or as part of research.