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Audio-recording your consultations with NHS doctors


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Good point, if I may say so, My Turn. Since this thread continues to collect a fair number of views, it may well be that there are people out there who could add something helpful as regards whatever has occurred. And, when it works, which is alas far from always, I have got to say I remain a fan of googledocs in helping tell a story, already partly ‘on the map’ here.

 

In the meanwhile, I think it is worth underlining the fact that the correspondence Andy has taken the trouble to share most certainly represents a significant contribution to the original and central theme of this 20-month old thread. If the British Medical Association was consulted by a GP and a PCT trying to resist a patient’s recording consultations, and could only come back with resistance (arguing on very thin grounds, in my view) to video-recording,then as, regards audio-recording I think it wholly reasonable to claim, with Andy's correspondence as evidence, that the BMA agrees audio-recording by patients generally, should not be resisted, as indeed has been applied in Andy's particular case. I’ve not seen anything online that ‘wraps up’ the BMA like that, until those googledocs. A milestone.

 

I would add that, whatever might become settled as the‘general rule’ for patients as regards video-recording, I think Andy personally has more than earned the right to do exactly that in his individual case. How could you more clearly demonstrate your candid and peaceable intentions?

Edited by nolegion
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Sorry – it's just that someone just message me and asked me to open this thread because they wanted to add some information.

Hello shallowthought9 and welcome to this thread. For what it is worth I think that in the light of the clearly disgraceful way your (former)  behaved it is very generous of you to contribute to a thr

Hi all i'm back with some follow up news.

 

This is the PCT' latest letter to me.

 

docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=explorer&chrome=true&srcid=0B_Y8GOjd-WmPMzRkMjgxYjgtYTRmYy00ZTc1LWFiZDYtZmEyMWM2MTI4YjRk&hl=en_US

 

And this is my reply to that letter.

 

docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=explorer&chrome=true&srcid=0B_Y8GOjd-WmPYjZjNTM3ZTYtYTUxMS00MjgxLWFjOTUtZmQ0ZGMxNjBkYTQw&hl=en_US

 

Any ideas as to what's next?

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Good luck, TurboAndy. You really must have upset the PCT for them to want you away from their premises!

 

You referred to a cover up to do with your blood tests and this seems to be the heart of the matter. Is there any value in outlining for us here what happened with your blood tests?

 

My Turn

 

MyTurn i will be explaining what happened with regards to the blood tests cover up when i get the chance next. I need to find all the letters and GP notes that show this. I will also upload evidence of an attempt of entrapment by my PCT and the attempted cover up of that by means of lying to ICAS when i made a complaint about it.

 

In the meantime, please find the latest uploaded letters from Somerset PCT to google docs with regards to denying my legal right to see a GP.

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So this goes:-

 

PCT

 

From letter to patient dated 07 December 2011:

 

...

 

“… We do not agree to you visually recording a consultation which was explained to you in a letter you received from…Complaints and PALS Lead dated 1 December 2011

 

… We agree to you audio recording a consultation and receiving a copy of any written record made at the consultation

 

I am sure you will understand the reason for the position the Trust has taken on this matter.”

….

 

Director of Corporate Services and Communications

(Somerset Primary Care Trust)

 

 

Patient

 

From letter in reply:

 

...

 

“My question still stands, WHY…?”

....

 

 

Fair question. Solutions, anybody?

Edited by nolegion
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No answer came the stern reply and I haven’t encountered many useful suggestions ‘off-thread’ either. Everyone I’ve had a chance to confer with thinks the PCT\GP should back down in these circumstances, but that is easier said than procured, especially when your own healthcare is in limbo.

 

No doubt Andy has already thought of asking the PCT\GP to allow himself to be videoed as patient during consultations, keeping the GPaudio-recorded but out of view. Tedious, but not difficult to achieve, and I can’t see what possible objections there could be to that (since audio-recording has already been successfully insisted upon).

 

If request was made but, formally, refused by the doctor, one would probably need to go on to take the matter up with the GMC; but they are so unreliable there would be no telling what if anything would be produced…or when. Not much use if you need the certainty of ongoing medical advice\treament, like now.

 

(When I’ve a tad more time at my disposal, I would like, in any event also to take some more extended issue with the, in my view, risible, notion advanced by PCT in this case that the GMC’s, recently updated ,‘rules’ on doctors making and using visual and audio recordings of patients – which they have been for years (with or without patient consent) – represent genuinely comparable criteria for consideration on the facts of this matter. Frankly, I think that is the type of specious, quasi-legalistic claptrap junior pen-pushers are congratulated by the witless for dreaming up because bean-counters lack the imagination. I’ll be properly rude about it another time.)

Edited by nolegion
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  • 2 weeks later...

Like I said, I asked a few people ‘off thread’ about AndyP’s predicament last month. In so far as mention was made in discussion of at least one of the two Trusts which have been involved in that case I have to say I encountered some quite, er, ‘robust’ remarks which largely accord with my own experience, such as it is, of that organisation.

 

And also a newspaper cutting from a patient in the relevant Trust area who apparently had more local attention than he ever wanted in connection with his ‘standing his ground’ on precisely the issue of this thread - but remains glad that he held firm. This was back in 2007 as you can see (link below), and while there is much greater awareness of the real position now than then, Andy’s case nevertheless shows that GPs\the PCT in a neighbouring Trust still tried to resist audio-recording,in the first instance, all but yesterday.

 

Patients are often, by the very nature of the transaction concerned, anxious and vulnerable. I think it is disgraceful that they should be bullied by ignorance, arrogance or duplicity into having to ‘fight for the right’. Andy ‘won’ the right to audio record; so did the ‘2007 patient’. Will it be another 5 years before it is consistently acknowledged as the entitlement that it is?

 

Here’s the link:

 

https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B1etSkG73JvjZWRmODYyY2YtOWVkZC00NTZlLTk2NDgtZDk4MzYzYmFkNzMy

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Drats nolegion? what do you mean?

 

Anyway an update. i had a long phone conversation with a Community Care Solicitor solicitor named Douglas Joy from the Disability Law Service in london today.

 

After i brought him up to speed with my NHS PCT problem, he said that there is nothing a solicitor would be able to do to get justice even if i had proof of wrong doing by the PCT. The reason being that the organisation would just edit any paperwork requested, duck and dive around the subject and just refuse to play ball so to speak.

 

This would drive the legal costs up so far that no self respecting solicitor would take on such a case unless a client had lost a limb or died.

 

Is that what it takes to get justice i asked? He replied the best advice would be to contact the media with the evidence and make it public as this is what the PCT don't want right now.

 

He also said that now is a good time to go public because of the media are hot on Community Care cases right now such as the Winterbourne View enquiry.

 

My next move will be to approach a few doctors surgerys with my equipment and phyisically record them turning me away and refusing to assess my medical needs. it seems the only way forward is to embarrass them into action.

 

 

 

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Hi All

I wonder if someone could point me in the right direction, I have now got to the point of having a meeting with NHS complaints staff at a local hospital what I would like to know is if I am within the law to record the meeting for personal records but also for future evidence if need be.

 

Thanks

 

Rom

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Good to see the NHS forum waking up again this New Year and I’m always glad to have company in this thread.

 

Andy. The penny drops (I really can be very slow sometimes – it’s my age). So both you and the’ 2007 patient’ live or have lived in Clevedon. I have a relative and some good friends who live there. I think it’s a fine coastal town. For viewers who don’t know it, it sits right on the Severn estuary north of Weston, South of Bristol and every time I visit it I wish I had managed to buy a house there, preferably facing the cracking sunsets across the water, when I was a younger man. Amongst its many distinctions are the fact that it and its renowned pier provided some of the backdrop to the grim but beautifully-shot film ‘Never Let Me Go’ (2010) fairly recently, with the scenic Ms Knightly et al (see e.g.:- http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1334260/)

 

Somewhat less glamorously it is also the location of the North Somerset PCT’s headquarters. So complainants who live there really can see the reds of the opposition’s eyes, and I have certainly known some patients very unhappy with the primary care encountered in that PCT’s area. Clearly, you are not alone in your struggles, Andy. One can only hope that your admirable stand on principle doesn’t deprive you of the immediate practicalities of healthcare any longerthan absolutely necessary.

 

(The 'Drats' was because I had to delete a post I had posted in the wrong thread...again.)

 

Romany. This is one where ‘you pays your money and you makes your choice’. It is not illegal to audio-record such a meeting ‘covertly’ and if the recording becomes genuinely material to a matter in dispute (i.e. in court) a court has a discretion to declare it admissible as evidence even though made secretly. However, if you are discovered – or perhaps yourself later wish to reveal your recording to establish a point important to your ongoing complaint - the Trust will probably peremptorily, and prejudicially, classify you as a ‘vexatious complainant’ and thereafter refuse to deal with you at all, other than by post.

 

Conversely,I have had colleagues who have told Trusts in advance that they will be(openly) audio-recording such meetings (and why not, we have nothing to hide now do we?) and faced down any silliness or opposition encountered. But you cannot rely on a Trust behaving well; your meeting might get delayed and be made more difficult for you to get through, unless you are confident in your advocacy or take a trusted friend with you who is.

 

If you decide on the ‘open route’ I certainly think it is worth telling the Trust, in writing, recorded delivery, as far in advance as possible, and confidently tell them that is what you will be doing - don’t ask for ‘permission’. If you then encounter a point blank refusal, they will have no one but themselves to blame if you in fact go on to record covertly.

Edited by nolegion
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Hi Nolegion

 

Thank you, I have told them I will be taking a Digital Recorder to record the meeting, but am i allowed by law if I have given them warning beforehand.

 

Thanks

 

Rom

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Hi

Quick update, I have just received a reply and they wish me to sign a statement to confirm that the recording would not be used for any other purpose than personal use???? another reason why they don't read what I send them, I told them I will be using this for personal records but also for future evidence if need be.

 

Go figure : )

 

Rom

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Well done, Rom, if I may say so. You have told them and got them to agree in principle. That’s good for the ‘morale’ of this thread as well (!)

 

Do you have the full, exact wording of what they want you to sign? If they haven’t already sent it you, I certainly think you should have an opportunity to take any advice you think necessary on the detail, in advance of your attending the meeting.

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Hi all,

 

FYI i have just purchased this,

http://www.spycameracctv.com/spycamera/realtime-d1-mini-dvr-spy-camera-007-sd

 

to be used in the war that i seem to have been forced into with NS PCT and NS council. I can recomend this tool if you intend to record video as 3hrs on a full charge should be plenty.

 

nolegion, glad you like clevedon where the NS PCT headquarters named Waverley house is.

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Smart-looking gadget, Andy. I would be interested in your assessment of the quality of its audio-recording, as well as its video-recording, after you have ‘road tested’ it.

 

As regards the overall thrust of this thread, it seems to me that the folly of trying to forbid patients doing something openly when they can legally do it covertly is clearly illustrated.

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Will road test asap and report back the results with a link to video footage made.

 

in the meantime i have uploaded 3 more files. the latest 2 responses from Somerset PCT and the full article on that guy from clevedon who was fighting the same people i am.

 

https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=explorer&chrome=true&srcid=0B_Y8GOjd-WmPZWMxNDI5ODctM2I1My00ZTRmLWI5ZDMtMTRhYTI1ZTY0OTM4&hl=en_GB

 

https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=explorer&chrome=true&srcid=0B_Y8GOjd-WmPNWQzNzIyMTgtZjM2OC00NTc2LTliYWMtMThmZjE3MzVhMTVi&hl=en_GB

 

https://docs.google.com/leaf?id=0B_Y8GOjd-WmPMzAxNmExNzQtMGRhYi00ZGM3LWFjMWMtOTlhN2Y2NTAxYmE1&hl=en_US

 

i hope showing the unedited article doesn't offend anyone, but if it's in a paper then legally it's in the public domain.

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I have been digging deep into the fowl smelling bowels of North somerset PCT's back catalogue of board meeting minutes and found 2 pdfs's 28 nov 2007 and 12 dec 2007 that show the PCT's disregard of Tim Sykes question and complaint. to see just how seriously they take his complaint, just scroll down until the green highlighted parts.

 

https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=explorer&chrome=true&srcid=0B_Y8GOjd-WmPZWFiOWNjMTUtODlmMi00YzQ3LWJmNDYtM2M5NzA2ZDgxODY3&hl=en_GB

 

https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=explorer&chrome=true&srcid=0B_Y8GOjd-WmPYjViZDcxZDItYzllMi00MTRkLWI4MzItZGU3ZjVjMTA0OTM0&hl=en_GB

 

It is also interesting to note that on both meetings Julie Clatworthy, has NOT attended. I have had the misfortune to deal with her on many occasions with out success. This is all about to change though in 2012 when i go public with how they have tried to conivct me of criminal activity in order to avoid providing me with honest healthcare.

 

enjoy.

Edited by turboandy
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Good stuff, Andy. If you don’t already have it, you deserve a job in investigative journalism, and you have certainly helped liven up this thread.

 

First, I don’t think there’s likely to be any problem about putting the full story concerning a previous ‘battle’ online. The‘expurgated version’ was all I had to hand, together with the happy advice that patient in fact won the battle – like you, 5 years on, at least as regards audio-recording. As you say, it’s ‘public domain’, good for ‘the cause’ and from what you have found it’s clear the chap was quite prepared to take on the public Board Meeting of the PCT as well.

 

My information was that the patient in fact re-registered with the same Medical Centre because it was technically two practices sharing exactly the same facilities, and then dared them to attempt to try ban him again, because he was indeed going to go on recording whenever he wanted! And they backed down.

 

Since you have local knowledge, you may be able to confirm that is possible there. You further info seems to chime with that.

 

It would certainly appear that at that time the PCT behaved very lamely, and probably just didn’t know what it was dealing with.

 

With the full text of the article in front of me, I can also add that I have seen that, pathetic, argument about irretrievable 'breakdown of relationship' before, and termed it ‘bunkum’ the better part of two years ago: see post 19, this thread. It simply doesn’t stack up, any more than the silly further ‘whining of the Trust about trust’ does in the further correspondence you have now linked in your case.

 

As was said in the online medical magazine you have already drawn to a different PCT’s attention which I’ll print here, once again, for any new viewers:-

 

. 1. A patient's wish to record medical consultations need not be in any way 'clinician specific' .He\she may wish to keep records of all consultations with whatever doctor - and why not?

 

2. A doctor who is hostile to being recorded presents himself\herself as untrustworthy.

 

a physician trying to argue, 'you can't do this because it means you don't trust me and therefore you should change doctors', is just a wish to 'ban' in very thin disguise.

 

As a final thought, though, perhaps I may take the liberty of suggesting, generally – and probably quite unnecessarily in Andy’scase - great caution if ever considering putting video footage of indentifiable living individuals online without their express or implied consent. The UK law on this has been complex and uncertain for a long time, and has most certainly not been helped by considerations arising from an, in my opinion somewhat erratic, High Court judgment a few weeks ago (about the ‘solicitors from hell’ website(s)). I’m still trying to work out where on earth I think that leaves the law myself .

 

“Youtube” notwithstanding, some might try to argue that doing so may take one outside the exemption for ‘personal use’ contained in the Data Protection Act (s.36), or even (ridiculously enough in most circumstances, in my view) allege ‘harassment’. If eg. a PCT or GPs practice were ever able to claim good reason to believe that anyone intended to do this as regards any medical staff, it could prove very unhelpful to the case concerned.

 

Always best, I think, to consider any such recording, including audio recording, as for offline personal use only - which could include production to e.g. a lawyer or a court, if need be.

 

People should also always bear in mind that one never knows who is watching a thread, and doctors have certainly visited this one before!

 

Many thanks for the further information, Andy, and best of luck to you. I look forward to learning about the recording quality of your new gadget when you have had a chance to try it out.

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If you are as optically-challenged as a bat like me, you will certainly need to use the googledocs zoom function to decipher the poor quality text in this copy book extract I have been sent, linked below.

 

I think it’s worth the effort though. The (2004) book is by retired oncologist Elisabeth Macdonald. In a short section, she considers the use of audio recording in consultations, and concludes:-

 

"On the whole most research in this area draws positive conclusions in favour of the use of tapes

 

See:-

 

https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B1etSkG73JvjZTA5MDc5MDItMDljOC00Njc1LTg2OTctYTEwYzk0MWExZTAw

 

It always seems to me that when the medical profession is invited to formulate good, coherent reasons why a patient should not take home an audio recording of his or her consultation, it is left floundering and clutching at straws.

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For crying out loud, now the CAB complaints department are at it!!

 

I have just contacted the CAB complaints department at their head office in London via http://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/index/aboutus/complaints_policy/complaints_procedure.htm

where they have a phone nunber clearly displayed - 020 7833 7202.

 

Upon called this number i get a woman answer the phone by asking yes' can i help you? i ask whom am i speaking to please? she says sorry who do you want? i ask if i have the complaints department as i had just dialed the number of their website.

 

she says that i want to call 0207 833 7000 which is the switchboard. I do exactly that and get a different woman who says she will put me through to complaints. I ask what is their number and, bingo, it's the one i had previously called.

 

I ask to be put through to complaints and this time it goes straight through to answerphone where apparently someone will get back to you. I have left messages before and they don't get back to you plain and simple.

 

I call the switchboard again on the *******7000 number and surprise surprise, they too now are diverting to answerphone and stayed that way till close of business.

 

Does anyone know of a single complaints process that actually yields some sort of satisfactory result, that isn't obviously designed to be dismissive?

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Does anyone know of a single complaints process that actually yields some sort of satisfactory result, that isn't obviously designed to be dismissive?

 

Sadly, your experience seems all too common.

 

Sorry to sound cynical but, as far as I am concerned, when one approaches a complaints department in any large organisation then one should never expect impartiality. Approaching a complaints department is like asking an organisation to consider making a statement that it was in the wrong. (If you see what I mean.)

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