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Care home spy camera welcomed by East Lancashire health boss
A LANCASHIRE health watchdog has welcomed the idea of using hidden cameras and ‘mystery shoppers’ to uncover neglect and abuse within care homes.
The new chief inspector of adult social care in England, Andrea Sutcliffe, said there was a need for a ‘proper conversation’ about the use of cameras, after the move was raised with the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
She said she wanted to explore the role such techniques could play in uncovering abuse and neglect, but admitted their use would have to be balanced against the need for privacy and dignity in such settings.
The move will be considered ahead of the launch of a new inspection regime next year, and has been welcomed by Mohammed Iqbal, deputy chairman of the Health Scrutiny Committee at Lancashire County Council.
He said: “I don’t think we have any significant problems with care homes in East Lancashire, but I would welcome any measures that protect some of the most vulnerable people in society.
“Staff do a difficult job but unfortunately there are shortcomings in certain care homes across the country.
“If the CQC feels that using hidden cameras is a good method of rooting out problems then I’m happy to support that.”
The key proposals, set out in ‘A Fresh Start for the Regulation and Inspection of Adult Social Care’, will include awarding Ofsted-style ratings to every care home by March 2016. Mrs Sutcliffe said: “This is a fresh start for how care homes, home care, and other adult social care services are inspected and regulated across the country.”
Norman Lamb, care and support minister, said: “We have made it clear that there must be a sharper focus on taking tougher action when things go wrong and holding those responsible to account.”
However, Davina Ludlow, director of care home directory carehome.co.uk, warned hidden cameras could affect the motivation of staff and create a ‘Big Brother culture where people are afraid to do this vital job’.
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