Patients can record GP visits without consent, solicitors warn

GPs can not prevent patients from recording consultations even if they do so without consent, solicitors have warned.

Smartphones: GPs powerless to prevent recording of consultations
Smartphones: GPs powerless to prevent recording of consultations

GP leaders say patients are increasingly likely to want to record consultations because of the spread of smart phones and other devices.

Solicitors have warned GP groups such as Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire LMC that patients are within their rights to record consultations with or without their GP’s consent or knowledge.

Doctors have a professional duty to keep the content of a consultation confidential, but patients can do what they wish with it, solicitors warned.

A recent Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire LMC newsletter reads: ‘It wouldn't be strictly necessary for a patient to inform a doctor of a wish to record the consultation.

‘However if they did, it would be wise for the GP to ask what it was going to be used for, bearing in mind that footage can be manipulated. Naturally, if this is undertaken "covertly" it will be nigh on impossible for the GP even to realise.'

The LMC said legal advice was that GPs should not refuse to go ahead with a consultation on the grounds that they object to a patient's wish to record it, in case the patient came to harm as a result.

‘A practice could consider making a statement in its practice leaflet that patients are welcome to record their consultations but the practice considers it an essential courtesy that the GP concerned should be told,' the LMC advice reads.

It adds that recordings of consultations, including those made covertly, are likely to be accepted as evidence in a court or disciplinary hearing. 'Admissibility of such evidence is usually subject to the relevant court/tribunal/panel's discretion but where relevant to matters of contested fact, the weight of authority is usually in favour of admissibility. There is a recent case of a GP struck off on the strength of a patient’s evidence covertly recorded on a smartphone.’

Marina Soteriou

GP Online recommends

Read more

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

PCN spending rules relaxed in bid to boost ARRS recruitment

PCN spending rules relaxed in bid to boost ARRS recruitment

Primary care networks (PCNs) that have struggled to recruit in 2019/20 can now use...

RCGP rejects change in stance on assisted dying

RCGP rejects change in stance on assisted dying

The RCGP is set to remain opposed to a change in the law on assisted dying despite...

Surgical mask advice for GPs as coronavirus forces practice closures

Surgical mask advice for GPs as coronavirus forces practice closures

GPs have been advised to wear surgical masks and other protective equipment if contact...

Walk-in GP services divert more patients from A&E but may not be cost-effective

Walk-in GP services divert more patients from A&E but may not be cost-effective

Convenient GP services can significantly reduce pressure on hospital A&E departments...

Practices face increasing risk of six-figure cash penalties, accountants warn

Practices face increasing risk of six-figure cash penalties, accountants warn

GP practices are increasingly likely to trigger six-figure financial penalties under...

Wide-ranging overhaul of GP bureaucracy promised amid spiralling practice workload

Wide-ranging overhaul of GP bureaucracy promised amid spiralling practice workload

Revalidation, referral processes, coding of patient data and letters required from...