NHS trusts criticised over system used that covertly films mental health patients

The Oxevision system, which is used by 23 NHS trusts, has been criticised by various mental health charities for infringing on privacy rights.

Certain NHS trusts are being called upon to suspend the use of Oxevision, a system that can continuously record videos of patients which is then kept for between 24-72 hours.

This comes after Camden and Islington NHS foundation trust suspended the use of the system due to a formal complaint from a female patient who said that system was akin to “covert surveillance”.

selective focus photography of lens

The system is designed to monitor vital signs such as pulse and breathing, however a camera and infrared illuminator are included to allow night-time observation, although in the patient information leaflet for some trusts the use of the camera is not noted.

The system, installed also at Exeter police station and in Oxfordshire, has the capacity to alert staff of intruders or unexpected people, or if the patient is in a blind spot – such as the bathroom – for too long.

Camden Borough User Group has raised concerns that patient consent to this filming was not being accurately obtained, whilst Alexa Knight, the associate director of policy and practice at Rethink Mental Illness, commented that although the motivation may be protecting in nature, “to [film] without clear consent is unjustifiable and this pilot should be suspended immediately.”

Oxehealth conversely says that the system provides 80% of patients with a better sense of safety and privacy.


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