Concerns raised about CCTV in Northern Ireland care home
Champion of CCTV in care homes runs facility where report found failings in use of cameras
A care home where concerns were raised about the use of CCTV was being managed by a man who champions the safety of vulnerable people by using the cameras, it has emerged.
The Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) uncovered a number of failings in relation to the use of CCTV at Three Rivers Care Centre in Omagh during an inspection last September.
The individual responsible for the home at the time was Philip Scott - who is also the founder of Care Protect, the company employed by Three Rivers Care Centre to install its CCTV system.
Responding to the RQIA findings, Mr Scott stressed no enforcement action was taken and measures were put in place immediately to address its concerns.
During the inspection of the home, owned by Zest Care Homes of which Mr Scott is a director, an RQIA inspector discovered paperwork for a resident which did not specify whether they had consented to be filmed while intimate and personal care was being carried out.
The report arising from the inspection continued: "It was unclear if those involved were fully aware of what 'personal care' meant." Covers to stop filming in the bedrooms of residents who had not given consent were also not routinely in place, the RQIA found.
And the inspector raised concerns after it emerged that the home had not followed proper procedures after CCTV footage highlighted two occasions where residents were moved or handled incorrectly.
The RQIA report said: "Staff consulted with were knowledgeable about their specific roles and responsibilities in relation to adult safeguarding.
"The staff understood what abuse was and how they should report any concerns they had.
"However, a review of the CCTV monthly surveillance report identified two instances of poor moving and handling practices that should have been reported in accordance with the regional safeguarding protocols.
"Following the inspection, the manager confirmed to RQIA by email on September 18, 2017, that this had been done.
"It was concerned that these incidents had not been recognised as needing to be referred to adult safeguarding."
The RQIA found that two residents who had not consented to the use of the camera surveillance system in their bedrooms did not know where they could sit elsewhere in the home without being recorded by the CCTV.
According to Companies House, Mr Scott has been a director of Zest Care Homes Ltd since December 2012.
A Care Protect CCTV system was installed in Three Rivers Care Centre in 2016.
At the time Mr Scott said: "We are delighted to be working in partnership with Three Rivers to bring Care Protect to Northern Ireland.
"The experienced and fully-licensed nurses and social workers monitoring the system will work with the home's staff to ensure the highest quality of care and to provide the reassurance of enhanced safeguarding measures."
Commenting on the RQIA report, Mr Scott said: "The issue of notification was a difference of opinion.
"The inspector read the Care Protect report and identified issues which we had decided were not safeguarding issues.
"The inspector told us we should refer it to be absolutely sure, so we did, and the outcome after we referred it was that it wasn't.
"With regards to the issue of consent, the inspector wanted us to have an additional part where it could be recorded that no consent had been given as opposed to consent had been given.
"It was a brief amendment to what we were already doing.
"We regard the Care Protect system as absolutely something that very much promotes quality and provides safety.
"The fact that we are the only people doing it means we can identify areas where we can improve services."