We understand that Patient consent may throw up a few questions and concerns, so we have tried to answer some of the FAQ's below:
What is acceptable as patient consent?
The best place for answers on what consent evidence is acceptable is the RCGP website, as they ultimately are the ones who decide what is acceptable in order for you to pass your exam.
Dr Michael Mulholland (Vice Chair of Professional Development) has also summarised RCGP guidance on consent in a recent blog.
We also have a separate help page with more information about obtaining patient consent for recording, including information about consent within consultations recorded via FourteenFish.
To briefly summarise, any one of the following are acceptable for recordings made outside of FourteenFish:
- Verbal consent at the start of the recording
- Copies of a text message (SMS) conversation with the patient
- A photo or scan of a signed consent form
You can download an example consent form from the RCGP website which is probably the best option, but it's also okay to use a different form if you wish. However, please be aware that it must make it clear to the patient how their recording will be used, and that they have the right to change their mind at a later date.
Patient consent options when uploading consultations onto FourteenFish
When you want to upload a consultation that was not completed using our toolkit, you will be given a choice of 2 options of how you demonstrated that the patient gave informed consent for the recording:
You must choose only one of these before you can upload the file, as we aren't able to ascertain whether consent was obtained with outside recordings.
1. The patient consents verbally in the recording
As long as the patient clearly and audibly verbally consents towards the start of the recording, then that is all that’s required when selecting this option.
Normally you would identify the patient first by asking them to confirm their details (e.g. date-of-birth, first line of their address), and then proceed to ask them for consent to have the consultation recorded.
When collecting consent, will this affect my 10 minute time limit?
It shouldn't, no. Examiners will take into consideration the time taken for getting consent, so they won't stop watching the consultation after exactly 10 minutes. If it takes 30 seconds to gain consent, for example, they will watch for 10m 30sec.
2. I will attach separate evidence now
This is usually for when you have any doubts over whether the patient's consent was clear / audible in the recording, or if they consented after the consultation.
When choosing this option, you will be prompted to upload evidence of the patient's consent, as shown:
Do I need to evidence follow up consent?
No you don't need to, but at the end of a consultation, you should check that the patient is still happy to have had the consultation recorded.
This gives them the opportunity to change their mind (perhaps something came up that they weren't expecting to talk about), and have the recording deleted.
I'm still not sure which option I should choose...
We would suggest that if you have any concerns about the consent with any of your uploaded consultations, to please discuss this with your Supervisor.
Choose the bullet point what you deem most appropriate, and once you have uploaded and shared the consultation with your Supervisor, if they think you should have chosen the other bullet point you can always edit it.
If your Supervisor and you are both still unsure, please contact the RCGP directly because ultimately they make the final decision about what is, and isn't, acceptable.