HC-One, the UK’s third largest residential care provider, is consulting on installing visible CCTV cameras in all its care and nursing homes as the latest measure to tackle the abuse and neglect of vulnerable elderly residents.
The suggestion, which the company says is overwhelmingly backed by the British public, would mean care providers are encouraged to offer an ‘opt-in’ scheme where residents and their relatives would be able to ask for cameras to be placed in their rooms. HC-One will ask residents, families and staff if they would support the measure. If they do, HC-One will be the first provider to implement this kind of scheme.
A ComRes poll asked more than 2000 British adults whether they would support or oppose the cameras in care homes. Four in five (80 per cent) supported the installation of visible cameras in care homes – and over a third (36 per cent) said they strongly supported the measure.
It is hoped that such a scheme will help root out instances of poor quality care, neglect and abuse, and act as a deterrent against deliberate bad practice and cruelty, whilst protecting the privacy and dignity of residents who would prefer not to be filmed.
Two years ago shocking and distressing failings were exposed at an HC-One home, when a relative used secret filming in a resident’s room. Since this time HC-One has been considering the controversial issue of using cameras in all its homes, and discussing the potential scheme with stakeholders and regulators.
As the BBC Panorama programme brings the important issue of cameras in care homes into the spotlight, HC-One is launching the consultation to raise the debate in public, and to offer their residents and relatives the chance to have their say.
Previously, Care Minister Norman Lamb, CQC chairman, David Prior, and chief inspector of Adult Social Care for England, Andrea Sutcliffe, have all backed the idea of camera surveillance in care homes.
HC-One’s chairman, Dr Chai Patel, said: “The secret filming that took place in 2012 showed shocking and distressing failings. We do not tolerate this kind of behaviour and we remain deeply sorry to the resident and their family.
“As soon as we became aware of the situation we took immediate action. Over the last two years we have had conversations with our stakeholders and our regulator about the potential use of cameras in homes to protect the health and wellbeing of our residents. This is, and always will be, our number one priority.
“As an organisation, and as a sector, we need to move forward and tackle this problem once and for all. Unannounced inspections by the CQC, local authorities, and our own service quality teams are important, but alone they do not always uncover the actions of a small number of individuals.
“This is why we feel placing cameras in care homes can only help protect the wellbeing and dignity of those we support. We hope that, as a society, we can start an open and honest debate on this most vital issue.”
HC-One’s head of risk management, Martin Lothian, added: “The secret filming from 2012 was shocking – we simply do not tolerate that type of behaviour at our homes, and we took immediate action to address those serious failings.
“Despite investing in staff training, an independent whistleblowing phone line, and independent service quality inspectors, we feel that traditional methods of assessing care must be strengthened. Our polling is clear – there is an overwhelming feeling in society that more must be done to protect elderly vulnerable people.”