RCN congress

RCN members say no to covert filming in care homes

Congress backs resolution to oppose surveillance as a way of exposing abuse and poor care

More than three quarters of RCN members at congress have voted against the use of covert video and audio surveillance and recording in care homes.

A resolution urging RCN council to oppose the use of surveillance equipment was backed by 79.5% of members, following debate in Bournemouth.

Abuse in nursing homes has previously been exposed through covert filming by relatives. In October last year, six out of ten staff working for HC-One, one of the UK’s largest care home providers, said they would welcome CCTV cameras in residents’ rooms to uncover poor care.

The Care Quality Commission has also issued information to care providers who are considering the use of covert or overt surveillance.

But Gill Cooksey, who proposed the resolution on behalf of the RCN’s Suffolk branch, said: ‘It raises issues of ensuring informed consent if a resident lacks capacity, and how can we protect privacy and dignity during this surveillance?’

Speaking in support of the resolution, Sheila Dunbar, a nurse who has worked in care homes, told congress that problems with staffing levels affect care. ‘I never have time to supervise the people I am working with,’ she said. ‘I never have time to work with colleagues to deliver the care that is needed.’

She said that as the sole registered nurse in a care home she has previously cared for 17 residents at one time, and that safe staffing levels in the care sector should be looked at.

David Shenfield, a member of the RCN Inner North Central London branch, added: ‘The trouble with surveillance is what is filmed. Has it got sound? Has it got context?

He said surveillance should be avoided and staffing levels investigated instead.

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