Care Inspector Proposals Could See Hidden Cameras Installed In Homes

New Chief Inspector Of The CQC Has Called For A Raft Of New Inspection Methods


In her first announcement since becoming the chief inspector of adult social care today (October 15th), Andrea Sutcliffe has called for the use of hidden cameras in care homes.

The newly appointed Care Quality Commission (CQC) figure wants to overhaul the way in which people with disabilities or age-related mental degeneration are treated and wants more thorough check-ups to be a major part of this.

While Ms Sutcliffe's proposal to put CCTV cameras in facilities to check on the welfare of patient has garnered the most media attention, the chief inspector also highlighted the potential benefits of mystery 'shoppers'.

This is a commonly used quality control method in retail and business environments but health officials have so far been unwilling to use this technique for fear it will foster poorer relations with nurses and care assistants that have faced heavier workloads due to government cuts and efficiencies.

Ms Sutcliffe, who was speaking on her first day in office, commented: "We will always be on the side of the people who use care services. For every care service we look at, I want us to ask, is this good enough for my Mum?

"If it is, this should be celebrated. If not, then as the regulator, we will take action. Our assessments will be based on expert judgement, not regulatory compliance."

The new CQC figure marked her arrival with the publication of the A Fresh Start for the Regulation and Inspection of Adult Social Care report, which has set out her vision ahead of a full public consultation in spring 2014.

Excerpts from the report state the CQC will take a tougher stance on the registration of care service providers and ensure those running companies in this sector have the right "values, motives, ability and experience".

Ms Sutcliffe will hope her recommendations spark a public debate about the state of the UK's care system, which has faced a number of abuse scandals in recent years.

Expert Opinion
Some very serious concerns have been raised regarding standards of care in homes in recent years and it is unsurprising, as a result, to see new tougher measures being proposed in relation to tackling such issues.

“Both care home residents and their families have every right to expect a high standard of care at such sites, but sadly recent high-profile problems such as Winterbourne View and cases that we are involved in have shown the appalling issues which can emerge.

“This tougher stance on tackling issues is likely to prove contentious, so it will be interesting to see how matters develop in relation to these measures. However, the ultimate aim must be to ensure that neglect and abuse in care homes becomes a thing of the past.”
Lisa Jordan, Partner