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.”
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