CCTV an invasion of privacy

Donna Pierpoint is the manager of Sheffield's renowned Broomgrove Nursing Home. She has 20 years experience in the sector, a decade of those as care home manager.
Donna Pierpoint is the manager of Sheffield's renowned Broomgrove Nursing Home. She has 20 years experience in the sector, a decade of those as care home manager.
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I recently asked my residents if they’d consider having CCTV installed throughout the home. No debate – it was a resounding no.

One of them made light of it: “I don’t want people watching me do things I normally only do in private’”, she laughed.

It’s no laughing matter, though. The debate is a major political issue. So much so that the Care Quality Commission issued their Using Surveillance guidelines just last month.

Much of the debate is being driven by one of the major care home providers, after a Panorama programme that was aired in 2014.

They see the installation of CCTV as the way to safeguard residents and restore faith in the sector after damaging stories of abuse by staff that were caught following covert surveillance.

I’m personally very much against visible or covert cameras in care homes.

I’ve spent years working in care homes where I have also had to fulfil a disciplinary role. I’ve never needed CCTV back-up to prove a case against anyone.

The installation of CCTV is an unacceptable invasion of privacy for residents. The only time it might ever be useful could be where there was a problem with theft but this would come at a very great cost.

We do have cameras at Broomgrove but only on the outside of the building for security purposes.

I truly believe the only way to ensure residents are receiving safe and high-quality, compassionate care and to improve the image of care homes is by properly training and supporting staff. We need an industry staffed by people who really care.

The topic is hugely sensitive and provokes heated debate. The Care Quality Commission has produced a balanced report that gives guidance whilst not being for or against surveillance.

The one thing they underline is ensuring people explore less intrusive steps to ensure residents have a safe environment.

They advise:

n Always having capable and confident staff on duty with the right mix of skills

n Encouraging an open culture that enables staff and residents to raise concerns and have them addressed

n Ensuring supervision and appraisal are used to develop and motivate staff and, where required, review their practice or behaviour.

It could never be a substitute for well-trained and well-supported staff.