Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster, B.C., is wrestling with the issue of police recording conversations between doctors and patients in the emergency room.

Dr. Tony Taylor says the police are routinely recording conversations unannounced and without consent, and the ER staff have reached out to the provincial medical association for guidance.

The Doctors of B.C.'s spokesman on the issue, Dr. Gord McInnes, says he's shocked to hear that RCMP and New Westminster police would record without consent of both the physician and the
patient.

Sgt. Jeff Scott of the New Westminster Police says officers are careful not to interfere with medical care, but the recordings are critical to their investigations.

RCMP spokeswoman Dawn Roberts says case law requires police to capture and record statements given to police when possible and doctors are the medical, not legal advocates, for their patients.

Royal Columbia is under the direction of the Fraser Health authority, and spokeswoman Tasleem Juma says it permits police investigations in its hospitals.

While patient privacy is of the utmost importance, she says they also don't want to interfere in police investigations.