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Hidden cameras could be part of new inspection regime

New Adult Social Care Chief Inspector Andrea Sutcliffe has announced that hidden cameras and mystery shoppers may be introduced as part of the Care Quality Commission’s revamped inspection regime, due to be introduced next year. She confirmed that she is keen to explore the role such techniques could play in helping to uncover abuse and neglect, while  admitting that difficult issues over privacy and dignity would have to be addressed first before any such scheme would be introduced.
From next autumn, services will be given an Ofsted-style rating of either outstanding, good, requires improvement or inadequate to reflect the system being introduced for hospitals. The inspections will aim to determine whether services are safe, caring, effective, well led and responsive to people’s needs. The make-up of the inspection teams will also change to include more experts in the care sector.
The Patients Association has reacted cautiously to this announcement, voicing its concerns that hidden cameras in care facilities may compromise the privacy of patients and could distract from the need to ensure adequate staffing.
Katherine Murphy, Chief Executive of the Patients Association, said “Where poor care exists it is obviously important that we seek to detect it and take action. But it is even more important that we tackle the problems that allow poor care to take place in care homes.
“Caring for the sick and elderly is a vital function in our society, and as such should only be carried out by those  with the skills, personality and temperament to do the job well and with compassion, ensuring the dignity of those for whom  they are caring.
“When adult care services are being commissioned, the key focus must be on the quality of care that will be delivered, and not the quantity of patients that it will be delivered to.
“There should be clear lines of accountability so that those care providers that are not doing enough to ensure that care is of high quality are held to account. This, along with an improved regulatory regime with in depth inspections at its core, will drive up standards of care in our care homes.”

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