From time to time, where it is useful in the treatment or management of a particular condition (most usually relating to skin disease), the treating GP may wish to request a photograph and append this to your medical record. This allows the medical team to monitor disease progression and response to treatment. The image may be passed as part of a secondary care (hospital) referral if the treatment the surgery has given has not been successful or there is diagnostic uncertainty or concern.
The use of photographs in the Surgery is subject to these safeguards:
- Consent will be obtained before any photograph is taken and is outlined on the text message requesting the image. This is not usually written/signed consent and is presumed on submission of a photograph, so called implied consent. Patients will never be put under pressure to submit an image taken and can refuse submitting a photograph without affecting treatment. The image should be regarded as an adjunct to the written clinical records.
- Images will only be viewed by healthcare professionals directly involved in the patient’s care. This may include administrative staff if images are sent via email or onward investigations or referrals are required. All staff at the practice are bound by the same duty of confidentiality as clinicians.
- Images will be uploaded directly to the clinical computer system Emis Web. We recommend the photograph is then deleted from the camera or phone it was taken on.
- Emis Web is a secure and encrypted storage facility of all medical information and is backed up regularly to prevent data loss. Images will be stored within your medical records.
- Images will never be taken off site and only shared with secondary care if additional consent has been requested from the GP. In particular, for the avoidance of doubt, images are never shared on any social media site, such as Facebook or YouTube.
- As with the rest of medical records, patients are able to request to review the images held by the surgery.
- Safeguarding. Where there are adults who lack capacity to give consent, the GP will obtain consent from someone who has legal authority to make the decision on the patient’s behalf before taking the image. Those under 16 who have the capacity and understanding to give consent for a photograph may do so. Where a child or young person is not able to understand the nature, purpose and possible consequences of the photograph, the GP will obtain consent from a person with parental responsibility. No intimate images (genitalia, breasts, anus) of those under 16 will be requested.