GPs warned over use of CCTV on practice sites

GPs who install CCTV technology in their practices must be careful not to fall foul of new government advice, medico-legal experts have warned.

Practices using CCTV must ensure they have a clear reason for installing it, such as prevention of crime, and put up notices about its use.

Requests for disclosure of CCTV footage can trip practices up, Medical Defence Union (MDU) medico-legal adviser Dr Caroline Fryar told GP.

She warned that if practices are asked to disclose footage because a theft has taken place, for example, they must protect patient confidentiality.

'The images are likely to show not just the person who has taken the handbag, but others in the waiting room,' she said. Practices should blur out other patients or ask for consent before passing on footage.

The MDU has produced guidance for GPs on CCTV to clarify rules practices must adhere to.

Dr Fryar said practices have been subject to advice from the Information Commissioner's Office for some time, and now need to take note of the government's Surveillance Code of Practice.

'It's quite specific, nothing really new, but practices could be criticised if they don't follow it,' she said. The key point is that practices have to be clear about why they have it. They need signs up in the waiting room telling patients there is surveillance equipment installed.

'As long as they have a specific purpose in mind, it doesn't necessarily need to be a high crime area for a practice to install CCTV.'

Dr Fryar said the real issue was not around having CCTV, but around disclosure. Essentially, she said, practices must 'follow GMC guidance on disclosure of information' and judge whether it is in the public interest to disclose images that may show patients.

'That is the area where people have come unstuck – there is no definition of serious crime. It is easy to justify disclosure if there has been a serious assault. But if practices are asked for disclosure they must judge each case on its merits and bear in mind GMC rules on confidentiality.'

Visit Medeconomics.co.uk for more details and tips from the MDU on using CCTV in your practice.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

The healthcare crisis in Myanmar - how UK GPs can help

The healthcare crisis in Myanmar - how UK GPs can help

Dr Jim Brockbank from Myanmar UK GP Health Action provides an update on how the military...

GPs warn of 'open floodgates' as 84% say e-consultations have driven up workload

GPs warn of 'open floodgates' as 84% say e-consultations have driven up workload

More than four fifths of GPs say e-consultation systems adopted in the pandemic have...

Map: Which CCGs have the highest COVID-19 vaccine coverage?

Map: Which CCGs have the highest COVID-19 vaccine coverage?

Tens of millions of COVID-19 jabs have been administered across England, but how...

Podcast: Greener practice, sharing patient data and additional roles

Podcast: Greener practice, sharing patient data and additional roles

In this episode we look at data extraction from GP records, ask whether the additional...

Red flag symptoms: Loss of consciousness

Red flag symptoms: Loss of consciousness

Red flag symptoms to look out for in presentations of loss of consciousness, including...

£20m fund to speed up second jabs as CCGs told to limit pressure on practices

£20m fund to speed up second jabs as CCGs told to limit pressure on practices

NHS England has announced £20m in funding to help local COVID-19 vaccination sites...