The Care Quality Commission (CQC), the care home watchdog for England and Wales, is reportedly considering using hidden cameras and other unconventional surveillance methods to monitor care homes.
A consultation will take place next year on proposals which include the use of hidden cameras and mystery shoppers to check up on standards at care homes.
The CQC’s chief inspector for adult social care Andrea Sutcliffe believes that these covert surveillance methods can help to uncover poor standards of care, including issues with neglect, insufficient care training and even abuse. However, she also said that the CQC is going to very carefully weigh up the risks and benefits of the proposals, making sure to consider whether they will breach the privacy and dignity of residents or not.
However, the director of carehome.co.uk, Davina Ludlow, has concerns. She said:
“We urge full and meaningful consultation before ‘digital spies’ infiltrate the care sector. Not only will covert surveillance impact on residents’ freedom, it may also have a knock on effect on the motivation of staff.
“We need to train, support and inspire the next generation of carers; not create a Big Brother culture where people are afraid to do this vital job.”
Other proposed changes which will be discussed in next year’s consultation include an Ofsted-style rating system for care homes.