UK & World News
Hidden Cameras Could Be Used To Inspect Carers
Hidden cameras could be used to help carry out inspections of care homes, according to a watchdog in England.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) unveiled the proposal as one of a number of changes to the way it monitors care providers.
The new Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care outlined her priorities in a document published ahead of a public consultation next spring.
Andrea Sutcliffe - one of three chief inspectors appointed by the CQC - said the organisation would hold discussions over the "potential use of hidden surveillance".
The document, entitled A Fresh Start for the Regulation and Inspection of Adult Social Care, states: "We would ... like to have an open conversation with people about the use of mystery shoppers and hidden cameras, and whether they would contribute to promoting a culture of safety and quality, while respecting people's rights to privacy and dignity.
"Such a conversation should cover the use of these techniques by the public, providers, or CQC."
Davina Ludlow, director of care home directory carehome.co.uk, warned about the possible impact on care users and staff.
"Whilst safeguarding is vital, so too is dignity and privacy," she said.
"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 proposals include awarding ratings to every care home and adult social care service by March 2016 to help people make informed decisions about their care.
Ms Sutcliffe, who started her job last week, also wants to recruit an army of ordinary people with personal experience of the care system to help carry out inspections.
A spokesman for the Alzheimer's Society said: "We welcome these plans to overhaul adult social care inspections at a time when public confidence in the care sector is at an all-time low.
"With most adults in the UK scared of moving into a home and care in the community often failing to meet people's needs, we desperately need to restore faith in services."