Hidden camera advice amid care fear

Published: Thursday 12th February 2015 by The News Editor

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The UK’s health regulator has issued guidance to families thinking of setting up hidden cameras to check up on the care of their loved ones in hospitals and homes.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is publishing the information for the first time following several high profile incidents where secret devices have been used.

“Recording equipment can be used to monitor a place, a person, a group or an activity to gather information,” the 12-page document says.

“This can be done openly, or it can be done in secret, in which case the people being monitored are unlikely to know that they are being recorded.

” People may use video cameras to do this, but there are many other options available including hidden sound-recording equipment, or motion sensors.”

The advice suggests those thinking of using a camera should consider how it may intrude on other people’s privacy and to think about raising their concerns with the relevant parties first.

Installing equipment secretly could break the contract of service at the hospital or care home, so it is important to check what the care service’s policy is, the leaflet warns.

It also says consent should preferably be obtained from the patient or, if this is not possible, to question whether using a covert device is in their best interests.

The CQC’s chief inspector of adult social care, Andrea Sutcliffe, said the regulator had spent more than a year talking to people who use health services along with their families, carers and providers and they had said information on the matter would be helpful.

“We all want people using health and social care services to receive safe, effective, high quality and compassionate care,” she said.

“Sadly, we know that does not always happen and the anxiety and distress this causes people, either for themselves or a loved one, is simply awful.

“For some, cameras or other forms of surveillance, whether openly used by services or hidden by families, are the answer.

“Today’s information for the public explains what people can do if they are worried about someone’s care and the things they need to think about if they are considering using any form of recording equipment.”

Care minister Norman Lamb said he welcomed the advice.

“Cameras have helped to expose terrible cruelty and neglectful care,” he said.

“Decisions about using surveillance are extremely difficult – there is always a balance to be struck between protecting people and respecting their right to privacy – but this information will help families to the make the right choice for them.

“We are committed to preventing poor care from happening in the first place and have introduced tougher standards for inspecting care services as well as measures to shut down those that aren’t up to scratch.”

Published: Thursday 12th February 2015 by The News Editor

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