Plan to use CCTV to cut care abuse
Published on 15 October 2013 02:00 PM
Hidden cameras and 'mystery shoppers' could soon be used in a bid to prevent abuse and neglect in care homes.
The proposals, put forward by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), represent a sign of things to come as authorities look to protect vulnerable older people by any means possible.
Andrea Sutcliffe, the new chief inspector of adult social care, believes a 'proper conversation' is needed with regard to the use of hidden cameras in care homes.
Even though it is a sensitive subject that throws up a number of difficult issues, she argues that it should still be considered as a solution.
Nevertheless, Ms Sutcliffe believes the first port of call for worried relatives should be the care home itself.
Authorities 'to protect older people by any means possible'
'I think that there are other ways that people can approach the local service provider, talk to their relatives, talk to other relatives and there are all sorts of things that I think people can do before they get into that very difficult situation,' she told BBC Breakfast.
'The most important thing that they should be doing is talking to the care home, talking to the manager of the home directly.
'We know from the work that we have done that that is really important, the way that managers lead their team and provide the support and training for their staff is incredibly important.
‘So if somebody does have any worries or concerns that is their first port of call.'
Ms Sutcliffe was speaking as she outlined her priorities in a document entitled 'A Fresh Start For The Regulation And Inspection Of Adult Social Care' published ahead of a public consultation next spring.
'Whilst safeguarding is vital, so too is dignity and privacy'
But while the CQC considers hidden cameras and mystery shoppers to be the answer, not everyone is completely convinced.
There are fears that such approaches could lead to a Big Brother culture in the care sector.
Davina Ludlow, director of care home directory carehome.co.uk, warned that this could have a negative impact on both care users and staff.
'Whilst safeguarding is vital, so too is dignity and privacy,' she said. 'We urge full and meaningful consultation before digital spies infiltrate the care sector.
'Not only will covert surveillance impact on residents' freedom, it may also have a knock-on effect on the motivation of staff.'
Copyright Press Association 2013