Nearly one in 10 doctors say patients have covertly recorded consultations

Nearly one in 10 doctors say patients have covertly recorded consultations, according to a poll by medico-legal experts.

Consultation: patients can record GP visit on smartphone (Photo: JH Lancy)

A fifth of doctors say their patients have recorded consultations, with 40% of these saying the consultations have been recorded covertly, according to a survey by the Medical Protection Society (MPS).

The poll of 500 doctors, including 185 GPs, also found that 97% of respondents were not aware of any practice or trust policy on recording conversations, and 91% wanted more guidance on the issue.

Almost three quarters (73%) of respondents thought they had a right to say no to consultations being recorded, but MPS medico-legal adviser Dr Pallavi Bradshaw said patients did not need a doctor’s permission to record their conversation.

Patients can share data

‘The content of the recording is confidential to the patient and they can share it in any way they wish, however the doctor should advise them how to protect their personal information,’ she said.

Wessex LMCs chief executive, Dr Nigel Watson, said the availability of high quality recording on smartphones meant patients could record consultations more readily.

‘It’s all to do with the doctor-patient relationship. If patients want to record the conversation for the right reason, if they wanted to listen back to it for instance, then most GPs will say yes, although I know of some who have refused,’ he said.

‘Covert recording tends to be more to do with catching the doctor out or litigation, which can only damage the relationship between GP and patient.’

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