Filming and Consent

Filming in hospital

Our aim is to enable filming to be done in an ethical way with the agreement and understanding of both patients and staff. Our intention is to protect the interests of all those involved.

For that reason we require consent for filming to be explicitly given. Enough information must be provided to enable the person to make an informed decision. Decisions must be respected and that decision should never affect a person’s care or interfere with a member of staff’s work.

Patient Consent

Our duty of care and protection of patients is paramount. NHS staff have the responsibility to ensure that the privacy, dignity and confidentiality of patients is not compromised.

Patients should be asked for their consent to be filmed by someone who is not involved in their care, such as a communications officer. This helps to ensure that patients consent is independent and not influenced by the relationship they may have with the health professionals.

If NHS staff feel at any point during filming that patients are uncomfortable or in any other kind of distress then they should immediately ask the patient if they want the filming to stop and to request that filming be stopped as necessary. This is regardless of whether the patient has consented to filming taking place.

Patients who are unable to consent

Staff are responsible for assessing a patient’s capacity to consent. A second opinion can be sought if necessary. Patients who are at least 18 are able to consent unless:

  • They are unable to consent permanently e.g. a patient in a persistent vegetative state
  • They have temporary loss of capacity e.g. a patient who is unconscious
  • They have fluctuating capacity e.g. patients with mental illnesses.

Patients must be able to consent i.e.

  • To make a decision, a person must comprehend the information relevant to the decision
  • To retain this information for long enough to be able to make a decision
  • To use and weigh information to arrive at a choice
  • To communicate their decision to others. This can be non verbal e.g. blinking

If a patient is over 18 and does not fulfil the above criteria no one is allowed to give consent on their behalf. A person is not to be treated as unable to make a decision until all practical steps to help them do so have been taken.

Children and filming

Children aged 16 and 17 are judged legally as being competent to give consent and therefore it must be asked directly from them. However, parents should also be involved in discussions.

In the case of children aged under 16, consent must always be obtained from their parents or guardians. However, it is clearly good practice to involve the child as much as possible in the decision.

If consent is obtained from the parents or guardians but the child feels uncomfortable at taking part in the filming, it should not continue.

Health care professionals and other NHS staff may intervene if they feel the filming is inappropriate and goes against the wishes and interests of the child.

Staff consent

The same principles of consent and right to privacy that apply to patients also apply to NHS staff. Filming companies must seek the consent of NHS staff for their involvement in filming.

To be able to give consent staff must:

  • Fully understand and have enough information to make a decision
  • Not be under the influence of anyone and to make the decision of their
    own free will

At no point should staff feel pressured into taking part in filming if they do not want to or feel that it interferes with their work. Employees who express their wish to withdraw from filming activities will not be penalised and their line manager and the Trust has a duty to respect their wishes.

If staff feel uncomfortable at any point, they can request filming be stopped. Any agreement made is between the broadcasting company and the member of staff. The Trust cannot override any decision.