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1. Sale of images

The sale of thermal image photographs of the fetus to women and their partners is a long established and popular practice; some departments now offer the equivalent in a digital format.  

In departments where the decision has been taken to provide these images to prospective parents, there should be agreement to this amongst all members of the obstetric healthcare team as well as the employing authority, and there must be a written procedure with which all staff are familiar.

In all circumstances, clear notices should be displayed prominently to advise women and their families about whether this service is provided and the local policy relating to it. In departments that offer digital images, local policies need to take into account that images could be displayed at a later date on social networking sites, possibly without the mother’s consent. Local policies should ensure that women are informed of this possibility.   

If it is necessary to recover the costs of providing images from the mother, then the SCoR considers a system based on donations is preferable to a fixed fee system.

However, if an NHS Trust or Health Board decides to set a fixed fee, the SCoR recommends that it should be under £5 per thermal image or £10 per set of digital images. Many departments charge considerably less than this. 

If thermal images are provided, parents should be warned that these should not be subjected to heat (e.g. laminating). The long term stability of thermal images is also not known.

The SCoR does not consider that handling money, dealing with credit/debit card transactions or issuing receipts are part of a sonographer’s duties. Arrangements should be made for these to be dealt with by support staff or by a payment machine. When exceptional circumstances require that money is to be handled by the sonographer there must be clearly agreed local procedures that can be audited.  The security and safety of the sonographer must also be considered if money is kept in the scanning room or has to be transferred at the end of a session. A risk assessment must be undertaken. 

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