CQC Issues Advice On Covert Care Home Filming

Pamphlet Gives Guidance On Using Hidden Cameras To Monitor Care


Andrew Robinson, Press Officer | 0113 218 6463
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has issued a pamphlet containing guidance on the use of hidden cameras to monitor care home standards by the public.

The CQC has said opinion is divided on the covert use of cameras to uncover abuse, but is publishing the guidance in recognition that they are already being used, particularly in the wake of a Panorama programme that utilised the practice.

Filming should only take place in a patient’s private room, and the most important factor is to gain permission from the individual being cared for. If they are unable to provide consent, it must be possible to show that filming is carried out in their best interests.

The guidance from the CQC also reminded anyone wishing to use hidden cameras should consider the privacy of all involved, including staff and visitors, and raise any concerns to the service provider and their regulators before resorting to filming.

Opinions on the pamphlet are divided. Care Minister Norman Lamb was in favour, and said: “Cameras have helped to expose terrible cruelty and neglectful care, and I welcome this new advice.”

Nadra Ahmed of the National Care Association, on the other hand, was opposed to the guidance, saying that the endorsement of hidden cameras undermines trust between providers, residents and their relatives.

Recognising the divisiveness of the issue, Chief Inspector of Social Care Andrea Sutcliffe said: “We all want people using health and social care services to receive safe, effective, high quality and compassionate care.

“Sadly, we know that does not always happen, and the anxiety and distress this causes people, either for themselves or a loved one, is simply awful.

“For some, cameras or other forms of surveillance, whether openly used by services or hidden by families, are the answer. Others feel this is an invasion of people's privacy and dignity. Many don't know what to do if they are concerned.

“I hope that this information helps the public to make the right decisions for them.”

Expert Opinion
There is still a long way to go to bring many care homes into line with acceptable standards. The CQC’s on-going scrutiny of care homes and their treatment of residents is essential and welcomed.

“Many relatives of those in care homes have been using cameras to film perceived failures in care for some time and we hope the new guidance outlined by the CQC will ensure all parties are aware of what is and what is not allowed.

"While the new guidance is welcome, it is crucial that everything possible is done to prevent poor standards of care in the first instance. This means ensuring the tough new standards introduced by the CQC in the wake of the Orchid View review are adhered to and residents are treated with the care and respect they deserve.”
Ian Christian, Partner