Members of the Royal College of Nursing have voted to oppose the use of covert video and audio surveillance in care homes.
The abuse at Winterbourne View was revealed via covert filming and last year a care home operator carried out a consultation on its widespread adoption.
The issue was discussed today at the RCN’s annual conference in Bournemouth.
After a complex debate involving many speakers, almost 80% of RCN members voted in favour of a resolution put forward by its Suffolk branch. However, 21% voted against.
Gill Cooksey, from the RCN’s Suffolk branch, had urged members to vote for their motion on covert filming.
The branch said that surveillance on its own “would not stop abuse”, but should be considered alongside other measures, such as staff recruitment.
It also questioned whether surveillance would catch abuse, as there were ways of getting round it, and that it might lead to “complacency”.
That this meeting of RCN congress urges council to oppose the use of covert video and audio surveillance and recording in nursing and residential homes.
This view was supported by Susan Goodman from the RCN’s Plymouth branch.
She suggested that using filming might encourage managers to do less actual monitoring of care standards, because they think they can look at the films later.
But Iain McGregor, from the RCN’s Old People’s Forum, highlighted the complexities of the issue of covert filming.
He said he had originally thought he would support the motion when he first read it but had subsequently decided that it was a complicated debate with both advantages and disadvantages.
Congress chair Stuart McKenzie highlighted that covert filming was a “contentious issue” and “emotive subject”, adding that he had arguments for and against the idea.
Results of vote on urging opposition to covert filming in care homes are:
For – 79.52%
Against – 20.48%
Abstain – 0%