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HC-One may install CCTV in care homes in wake of secretly film abuse

A residential care provider is considering whether to install visible CCTV cameras in all of its care and nursing homes.

The UK’s third largest residential care provider, HC-One, sees it as a possible way to tackle the abuse and neglect of vulnerable elderly residents.

“We feel placing cameras in care homes can only help protect the wellbeing and dignity of those we support”

Chai Patel

Two years ago shocking and distressing failings were exposed at a HC-One home, when a relative used secret filming in a resident’s room.

Staff were filmed neglecting a resident in Oban House, in Croydon, south London.

The footage, which dates from December 2012, is due to be broadcast later this week on 30 April, as part of a BBC Panorama documentary looking at elderly care standards.

A HC-One spokeswoman said the poor care filmed in December 2012 “was not, and is not, indicative of the standards we demand and was contrary to all of the processes and training we have put in place”. She added: “We apologise unreservedly for those failings in 2012.”

A ComRes poll asked more than 2,000 British adults whether they would support or oppose the cameras in care homes. It found that 80% supported the installation of visible cameras in care homes and over a third 36% said they strongly supported the measure.

HC-One’s chair Dr Chai Patel said the organisation has no tolerance for “this kind of behaviour and we remain deeply sorry to the resident and their family”.

He added: “Unannounced inspections by the Care Quality Commission, 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.

HC-One

Chai Patel

“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.”

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, while protecting the privacy and dignity of residents who would prefer not to be filmed.

HC-One was formed in 2011 following the collapse of the UK’s then largest nursing home operator, Southern Cross Healthcare.

Readers' comments (9)

  • michael stone

    The CQC 'inspection and regulation' consultation, which is currently underway, asks about views on covert filming and fitting cameras to its inspectors.

    It also mentions the 'mystery shopper' approach (which to me is a no-brainer: 'mystery shoppers' is definitely a good idea), but the [covert] filming one is trickier.

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  • what has life come to? how dreadfully sad and disgusting that such a move even needs to be considered. clearly in view of some inexplicable human behaviour we need new ways of ethical thinking and standards to accept such technology which can assist in stamping it out.

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  • I simply cannot understand why someone could take on a job to care for vulnerable people and then abuse them. If they feel that the job is not for them then leave.
    However, there is all this push to get people in employment and so many times people are pushed into a job that they should not be doing.
    The care industry seem have the most % of basic pay and also very easy to get into.
    There is generally a lack of support and respect for people involved in caring in this country. Yet it is pitched as an important job which must have the 6 C's.

    Regarding filming while care is carried out to ensure good care I feel is sad.
    What about having good management of staff, proper training and the right amount of staff .
    Only recently I was talking to a carer from a home who reported 3 staff at night for 60 residents.
    I have noticed that we are not having managers who are able to manage people very well, they seems to be the tick box type. No wonder standards are falling everywhere.

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  • maybe there should be an extra bonus for each of the six Cs a staff member can demonstrate. Since they now seem to be considered as extras they need to be rewarded accordingly! :-)

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  • michael stone

    Anonymous | 28-Apr-2014 1:32 pm

    'Regarding filming while care is carried out to ensure good care I feel is sad.'

    It saddens me as well. But some of the TV footage I've seen of 'poor care' doesn't 'sadden' me - it SHOCKS me !

    But it does seem that it is often difficult to prove that care is abusive, so evidence on film helps with that, and also the possibility of being filmed would, presumably, only really alter the behaviour of poor/abusive carers anyway. So you can see the arguments for filming.

    But it is a tricky one, to sort out the 'sensible balances'.

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  • michael stone | 29-Apr-2014 10:33 am

    you haven't been there or done that so keep nose out and vacuous comments on the obvious out!

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  • Michael Stone
    Yes there are arguments for filming.
    However, I feel that filiming should not be used to police care.
    I believe a good care manager will be able to find out if a carer can be or has been abusive.
    It is about sensible care planning, for example ensure new carers work with someone trusted or a senoir nurse.
    Have probation period where assessments and training are intense. Managers to call in unexpectely to check on care, find out whether carers/nurses are happy in their job, have regular staff meetings encourage speaking out if anyone suspects poor care etc.

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  • michael stone

    Anonymous | 29-Apr-2014 11:57 am

    I suppose you think Panorama should keep its nose out, as well ?

    Anonymous | 30-Apr-2014 9:17 am

    I agree with you, about what should be happening - but that doesn't seem to be happening everywhere, at the moment: which is [presumably] why the CQC is asking about 'covert filming' in its current consultation about 'inspection'.

    Also, it doesn't invariably follow that 'It is about sensible care planning, for example ensure new carers work with someone trusted or a senoir nurse.' is a complete answer: Harold Shipman was a GP, and 'therefore 'trusted'', but Shipman killed so many of his patients, that the death statistics for the year(s) are omitted from analyses as being too atypical.

    It is also about poor pay in some care homes, so that the wrong staff are working in them, and other things - not simple at all.

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  • Micheal Stone
    We must make what should be happening happen.
    I am fed up with having an alternative to doing what should be done. When alternatives takes place, the should be happening gets lost.
    The management of care must be strong, then and only then will we see significant improvement in Health Care.
    Also if we cannot fully trust people then we rely on working partnership being changed regularly and hopefully some one will report a guilty person after working with them where there is the right envionment to report poor care. Again a good manager will be able to manage this situation well.
    We must equip and select managers to do the job.
    Management is a very tough job not as a lot of managers I have come across think.

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