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Woman calls for CCTV in all care homes

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: July 06, 2012

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A RADICAL call for CCTV surveillance in every care home across the country to prevent abuse of the elderly and vulnerable has been made.

Your Voice Matters founder Jenny Moore, from St Austell, wants 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week filming in every care home across the UK in a mission to shine a spotlight on abuse.

Her bold statement comes a year on from when secret filming in a BBC Panorama documentary revealed staff at Bristol care home Winterbourne View, abusing those for whom they were meant to be caring.

As the Cornish Guardian went to press the online petition had already gathered 100 signatures. Launched last week, the petition calls for the drastic change in a bid to protect the most vulnerable.

Mrs Moore, 46, whose campaign group champion better care for the county’s elderly in Cornwall’s care homes, said: “It’s not going to solve the problem but it’s part of solving the problem. I can’t see anything negative about it.

“Concerned relatives would be reassured and good care workers would feel less fearful of whistle-blowing.”

And she feels the bill should be picked up by the care homes.

Controversially, Mrs Moore has also stated that the filming should extend to bedrooms and bathrooms.

“Prisoners, small children in nurseries, even the public are all protected by CCTV, so why are our elderly and vulnerable not?”

However, a spokesman for campaign group NO CCTV said the suggestion was “typical of the modern excessive use of surveillance cameras”.

He added: “Cameras will not address the issue of abuse; they will merely further degrade the quality of life for care home residents. Such a measure may salve the conscience of relatives but a better solution would be to tackle the issue of abuse and not undermine the trust of all care home workers.”

But Mrs Moore said: “Unless a family has experienced the stress and worry of fearing their loved one is being abused or neglected they cannot imagine what it is like.”

Devon and Cornwall Police said although media coverage had highlighted the value of CCTV cameras there would be major stumbling blocks.

Detective Superintendent Paul Northcott, head of the force’s public protection unit, said storing the footage and installing cameras to retain residents’ privacy would be difficult.

“This means that any abuse if it were to occur would invariably happen off camera.

“The force is working with partners to encourage people to report care home abuse and neglect but would use CCTV where it was justifiable and proportionate to do so,” he added.

Chief executive of Cornwall Care Douglas Webb said “rigorous” internal and Care Quality Commission inspection already took place across care homes.

CCTV was not the answer and instead the “bigger issues” of elderly abuse needed to be addressed, he said.

Adding: “It’s shooting at the wrong target. It’s as if we’re trying to crack a nut with a sledge hammer.”

Find out more on Facebook Your Voice Matters.

Do you think CCTV cameras in all care homes across the UK is a step too far? E-mail cgedit@c-dm.co.uk with your views, or let us know at letters@cornishguardian.co.uk

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  • jimjams2011  |  July 08 2012, 7:01PM

    I don't think its a bold statement, I think its an adequate way to help prevent this problem currently. People always try to blame things on 'bad apples' however it is generally the barrel which is bad. Private companies should not be making profit from our vulnerable. The care of our vulnerable should only be in the hands of non-profits. Keep care away from Private Equity or Share Holders to help make sure the money is channeled to quality of care!

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  • TheodoreV  |  July 07 2012, 3:05PM

    Sounds good in theory, but in practice? How many cameras would you need? Presumably one for every bed, plus others for common areas and toilet facilities. How many would this add up to? Then you have to make sure all are working correctly, are maintained and not open to interference. Then you would need a system of someone presumably watching or checking them to see all was in order - clearly a full time job - covering both day and night. And then, as with cameras generally, people change their behaviour if they know they are being watched, which may not of itself prevent either abuse or neglect. No the best way to achieve humane treatment of the vulnerable, is to employ only properly trained adequately paid individuals, who are subject to continuous peer review and proper management by independent medically qualified persons, linked to open and effective channels for complaint and investigation, whenever and where ever required. As recent enquiries have shown, as a society we continue to fail the "in-care" young, mentally ill and elderly.

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  • Micjac  |  July 07 2012, 7:50AM

    If I had a relative in a care home now I would want CCTV for my own peace of mind. However my Mum worked in care for years and as she points out, people in care have the same needs and requirements as everyone else and they should be entitled to privacy for these just like everyone else. This is my only but huge concern.

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  • Phil_lip  |  July 06 2012, 7:55PM

    There is a double edge to this, many care workers who are dedicated to their job also get abused by the residents and it is extremely difficult for a home to get a resident moved, this would help in those extreme cases, such as a friend who had her eye injured by a resident (who physically and mentally hurt every person that walked inthe room) and was not allowed to put it in the accident book (more to do with management needing a good kick up the rear end), 3 years later it still causes her problems with her sight and yet nothing can be done because there was no proof. Not saying it is a good or bad idea overall, but there are 2 sides to the use of CCTV in care and residential homes.

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  • cornishpisky6  |  July 06 2012, 3:42PM

    The regulators(CQC) are not investigators, they are inspectors. There is a massive difference between the two roles. There are instances that statutory requirements were identified in 2003/4 (CSCI)but are still not corrected today under the current regulator. That is worrying when 9 years have passed and the issues still have not been addressed to comply with Care Standards.

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  • Mailler  |  July 06 2012, 3:13PM

    Apologies, the 48 hours above should read 72 hours.

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  • Mailler  |  July 06 2012, 3:10PM

    I disagree with the spokesperson from the no CCTV campaign, and also with your Police spokespersons. This is absolutely nothing to do with salving the conscience of relatives. There's more to abuse than physical or verbal, and the police will not get involved unless they have concrete and visible evidence. You would feel differently about the CCTV issue if you had a relative who had been totally neglected over a 72 hour period in a care home, and who went into a diabetic coma before the staff even bothered to dial 999 - you would want to know what happened, or rather didn't happen, during those 48 hours. Yet, still the police aren't interested. That is abuse. Especially when you learn, later, from the records that your relative was calling for help - but it never came - you would want every single moment of those 48 hours to have been recorded and to be made available to the Court who should prosecute the so-called care home staff.

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