Family or friends sometimes take photos or videos of patients during their hospital stay. There are some important factors you need to consider before taking any photos or videos in hospital.

You can't take photos or videos of staff or other patients and visitors with a mobile phone camera without their permission.

Capturing moments - particularly for seriously unwell patients - can later help them come to terms with parts of their recovery.

You need to consider these things 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 will 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, the images or video should be 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 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, 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, ensure you have the appropriate consent before recording or photographing.
  • Documenting medical records is not permitted. Talk to the care team or visit Freedom on Information (FOI) for more information about how you can obtain copies of your medical record. Recording medical consultations is not permitted without the approval of the treating team.

Privacy and sharing images online and with media

Sharing photos or videos of a patient who has not consented (or cannot consent) may have privacy implications.

Be careful who you share the photos and videos with. Posting images to social media sites like Facebook and Instagram can provide timely updates for family and friends, but the images can be easily shared with others and seen by many people, including the media.

Check the privacy settings on your social media accounts to control who can see your images before sharing photos and videos of people in hospital.

Last updated 20 December 2022