Family or friends sometimes take photos or videos of patients during their hospital stay, however there are some important factors you should consider before taking any photos or videos in hospital. 

Family or friends sometimes take photos or videos of patients during their hospital stay. Capturing moments – particularly for seriously ill patients – can later help them come to terms with parts of their recovery.

Things to consider before taking any photos or videos:

  • if a patient is unable to consent to having their photo taken, we recommend you obtain permission from the Next of Kin (NOK), who should consider the patient’s rights and wishes
  • staff are unable to provide consent on behalf of patients - only the NOK is able to do this.
  • you should obtain the patient’s consent as soon as they regain capacity to consent. If consent is refused, we recommend the images or video are destroyed
  • any photography or videography should not interfere with the patient’s clinical care. If photography or videography disrupts the delivery of care, or if a staff member believes that it is not in the best interest of the patient – even if the patient has given permission – the staff member may request that it stops
  • if you have the appropriate consent to take a photo or video, please take care that hospital staff and other patients aren’t accidentally captured. Photographing or videoing staff or other patients, or the recording of conversations, is not permitted without consent.
  • if you want to include staff in your images, please ensure you have the appropriate consent prior to recording/ photographing
  • documenting medical records is not permitted – talk to your care team or visit our Freedom on Information (FOI) webpage for further information about how you can obtain copies of your medical record. Recording medical consultations is not permitted without the approval of your treating team

Privacy - sharing images online and with media

Photos or videos of a patient who has not consented, or cannot consent, may have privacy implications so it’s important to consider how the photos and videos are used.

Posting images online, including social media sites like Facebook and Instagram, can provide timely updates for family and friends, but digital images can be easily shared and seen by many people, including the media. It is recommended that you check the privacy settings on your social media accounts to control who can see your images.