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Restrict covert cameras say nurses

Published 22/06/2015

The RCN passed a resolution opposing the use of cameras
The RCN passed a resolution opposing the use of cameras

Covert video and audio surveillance should be restricted in nursing and residential homes according to the Royal College of Nursing (RCN).

The nursing organisation has passed a resolution at its annual congress in Bournemouth opposing the use of cameras while urging improved recruitment, training and improved leadership.

Earlier this year, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) released guidance on the use of covert surveillance following high profile cases of relatives and news organisations filming shocking instances of abuse in care homes.

The guidance included the recommendations that recording equipment should be used in a person's private room, permission should be gained from the individual patient, or when not possible must be shown to be in their best interest, and concerns should be raised first with the care provider and the CQC.

Gill Cooksey, of the Suffolk branch of the RCN who proposed the RCN resolution, said: "Who are the cameras for? To protect the residents, to protect the staff or to replace direct supervision with remote supervision?"

Ms Cooksey said that covert filming had exposed "dreadful" abuse and said that a ComRes poll of 2,000 British adults showed 80% support for it, but she said that poor care should be tackled by better training.

She said: "Surveillance on its own - covert or otherwise - would not stop abuse, but should be considered alongside other measures such as recruitment training and improved leadership."

She added: "Could it lead to complacency - after all there are ways to ensure that abuse would not show up on any surveillance methods."

She also said the use of CCTV "raises issues of ensuring informed consent, if a resident lacks capacity how can we protect privacy and dignity during this surveillance?"

Laura Falconer, who seconded the motion, said: "We must promote better training and care."

The resolution "that this meeting of RCN Congress urges Council to oppose the use of covert video and audio surveillance and recording in nursing and residential homes" was passed by 299 votes in favour, 77 against with 21 abstentions.

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