THE row over one of the UK’s biggest care home providers – who run five homes in Wigan borough – installing CCTV into residents rooms has escalated after further evidence of abuse led to three men being jailed.
HC-One sparked huge controversy and led unions to consult staff members after they considered plans to install CCTV cameras in all their 227 care homes.
Now, calls are growing for CCTV cameras to be placed in care homes across the country after three men were sentenced this week for abusing an elderly woman with dementia in North Somerset.
The five homes run in the borough by HC-one are Carrington Court and Rosebridge Court, both in Hindley, Ashton View in Ashton-in-Makerfield, Westleigh Lodge and Richmond House, both in Leigh.
The news has led unions to consult staff on the issue. Justin Bowden, GMB National Officer for the care sector, said “Cameras in care homes is a highly emotive subject which provokes understandably strong views and today’s conviction in Somerset throws the debate wide open.
“The care and safety of residents on the one hand and the rights to privacy of staff and residents on the other, are both very important and rightly raise strong feelings, such a big step therefore requires very careful consideration.
“HC-One has been the first major care home operator to consider the introduction of visible cameras in residents bedrooms and has wisely approached this with caution.
“GMB is in the process of talking to our 6,000 members in 227 HC-One care homes to seek their views as they are the experts in providing care to the vulnerable and elderly.”
In May, HC-One chairman, Dr Chai Patel, announced that visible CCTV units were being considered in all its care homes after an undercover Panorama programme on BBC revealed abuse taking place at one of its care homes. HC-One said it has conducted a public opinion survey which it said shows 80 per cent support for the move, which would be an opt-in scheme, meaning residents and their families would have to agree to a camera being used. The idea of using CCTV in care settings was floated last autumn by the Care Quality Commission, the sector regulator.
It is understood however that they have reservations.