CQC should consider camera surveillance as a regulatory tool, says Philip Scott
By using camera technology to monitor care practices in care homes, the Care Quality Commission could continue to do its job effectively while remaining within tightening budget constraints, according to Philip Scott, the managing director of Care Protect, a company which operates a commercial camera surveillance system designed for use in care homes.
In response to reductions in its budget from £249m this financial year to £217m in 2019/20 the CQC has said it plans to inspect adult social care services less often and concentrate on those perceived to be at greatest risk, using quantitative and qualitative information held on providers to spot potential risks more effectively.
Mr Scott says camera surveillance technology should be used by the CQC to trigger an inspection as opposed to visiting a home or hospital simply because it is time to do so. If technology was providing an overview of a care service on a 24/7 basis, he says, this information (with the agreement of the care home owners) could be shared with the CQC to give ‘real time’ data on both good and bad practice.
“Camera surveillance and expert monitoring is a long overdue solution,” said Mr Scott.
“All concerns around privacy and choice can be addressed if the will exists to embrace technology to safeguard vulnerable people. We already know from both our own and independent research that the public wants to see camera technology adopted in care settings. Despite legislation over the years being extended, granting new powers to the regulator and a number of high-profile TV exposés there has been no material reduction in abuse cases and allegations. Indeed, families are resorting to hidden cameras in an attempt to combat this.”
Mr Scott said his company already had a number of clients with monitoring in place and the results had been “very positive”.
“The independence of the monitors has ensured any identified concerns are immediately addressed and referred to the care provider for instant rectification and if necessary to the appropriate regulatory authority,” he said
“It would be a radical step for the regulator to consider these systems as a standard, however, given the levels of reported abuse and ongoing poor practices being captured on covert cameras, what is the real alternative in a world of ever diminishing resources?”