The NHS regulator is drawing up plans to install hidden hidden cameras in nursing homes and even people’s own homes to protect vulnerable patients from neglect or abuse by health-care workers.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) will begin a public consultation next month on the use of covert surveillance to monitor the care of vulnerable and elderly and disabled patients.
David Prior, chairman of the CQC, said the risks and consequences of abuse were so great they could outweigh privacy concerns.
It is likely that covert surveillance would at first only take place where there was evidence or suspicion of mistreatment but Prior added “There is a massive risk and it is incumbent on us to have as many sources of information as we can get”.
“We have to use every power we can to try to protect people and if we felt that that (Covert surveillance) was a way in which we could get to the truth, then we would unquestionably use it.
“Anything that can give families assurance that their loved ones are being cared for properly has got to be welcomed. So I think we will do anything short of breaking the law.
Prior said the regulator was particularly concerned about poor care, neglect and abuse taking place unnoticed in nursing and residential homes due to lack of people visiting and checking on the standard of care. About one third of homes have been found to failing in some way by the CQC.
Prior said :”How do you find out what is happening late at night in a care home specialising in in patients with Dementia? Are there enough staff, are they properly trained and are they kind and caring?
“If you take these very vulnerable people, often they don’t have very many other people looking out for them. They tend to rather abandon them to a care home.”
Sunday Times – 22.09.2013