Conservative MP Dominic Grieve is pushing for a new law; making cameras compulsory in care homes.
The MP for Beaconsfield wants a new CCTV law to be one of the first issues debated by MPs when Parliament returns this September. He will apply for a debate in Parliament and intends to argue his case for a law that would make it a requirement for all care homes to install recording equipment.
Law will ‘protect carers; it’s not just a spy device’
“If a resident suffers an injury and you can show on CCTV how it happened, residents and relatives are going to be reassured.” Currently, there is no requirement for care providers to use monitoring in communal areas.
Mr Grieve, a former attorney general, said: “I think this is achievable and could become law. Seeing potential problems that exist in care environments, the arguments in favour are very strong.”
“We have large numbers of vulnerable people in care homes and we want to provide them with proper standards of care. Incidents of them being abused are scandalous.”
But he warned: “We are not going achieve this overnight, but it is something we should continue pressing for.”
“There is clearly growing anxiety about the risk of abuse, sometimes from other residents and sometimes staff, so all that seems to me to make it very valuable. It’s there to protect carers, it’s not just as a spy device.”
The use of CCTV in care homes has long been a topic for debate with some families of abuse victims calling for widespread use, claiming it is the only way to catch abuse or neglect.
Mr Grieve made his statements after hearing from campaign group Care Campaign for the Vulnerable.
Jayne Connery who founded Care Campaign for The Vulnerable is calling for CCTV to be installed in every care home following the experiences of her mother who has dementia. Ms Connery has been a carer for her mother since 2016.
‘There will always be areas which cameras do not see’
However, many have argued a CCTV law is not the solution to issues in care homes.
Gary FitzGerald, chief executive of Action on Elder Abuse has previously voiced concerns of “getting caught up in a debate about cameras when they are a symptom of the problem not the problem.”
He added: “I really think it is a red herring and it is deflecting us from the whole issue of quality of care. Cameras are not the solution. We have to force the Government to invest in social care.”
Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK, recently said: “With all the media stories about abuse and neglect in care homes it can be tempting to see installing security cameras as ‘the answer’, but Age UK very much doubts this is the case.”
“For a start, there will always be areas which cameras do not see and we would not want there to be a false sense of reassurance about the care on offer to residents. More profoundly, care homes are that just that – people’s homes – and those living in them have rights to privacy and dignity just like everyone else.”
“Any use of cameras must therefore balance concerns about older people’s welfare with their right to dignity. Certainly, as a matter of principle we think that cameras should only be used with the informed consent of care home residents or their representatives.”
She added: “Above all, we need to raise the quality of care in care homes across the board and ensure that all older people, their families and staff are involved in how the care home is run and are able to raise any concerns.”
The Conservative MP Dominic Grieve is entitled to his opinion but would the installation of CCTV Cameras in care homes prevent abuse. At the heart of this debate is acceptance and recognition that a care home is the residents home, a place where they live with the right to their privacy and dignity.
Care services will always have to strike a balance between concerns about resident’s welfare along with their right to privacy and dignity. At the very least, residents and their families should be involved in any decision to use CCTV Cameras before their installation. The question needed to be asked; should we be focusing upon CCTV Cameras or more importantly improvement in quality of care?
If adult social care services raise the standards of quality of care, they will not only reduce incidents of abuse, but give the public more confidence in the services they provide and prevent the clamour for CCTV Cameras.
Albert Cook Albert Cook BA, MA & Fellow Charted Quality Institute
Bettal Quality Consultancy