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THE FACTS THAT SUPPORT OUR VIEW ON CCTV
We advise people to raise concerns in writing with the care home and if no action is taken then to contact the CQC and the local authority.
If these take no action, we then advise the use of covert cameras.
The use of covert cameras continues to be the most effective method in exposing not only the abuse taking place but also the failures of the relevant authorities to act. We are completely in favour of individuals using covert cameras.
As a whistle-blower who witnessed widespread abuse first hand I know that the use of CCTV would not have stopped the abusers, in fact it would be used as a defence by unscrupulous care companies and end up protecting the very worst abusers.
The following cases are based on first hand experiences.
Case 1. EDNA
Edna was administered doses of the anti-psychotic drug Chlorpromazine from illegal stockpiles. Her medication records were altered by hand and signed by two members of staff. Edna was legally prescribed 20mls of the drug but illegal doses of up to 180mls were routinely administered because a person who is drugged does not need care and attention.
This abuse was perpetrated by a “power abuser” (See Beyond The Facade By Eileen Chubb pages 303 to 310 for full details on the power abuser). The most effective method to stop this abuse would be a law that truly protects whistle-blowers, but no such law currently exists. Whilst we wait for such a law the use of a covert camera by a whistle-blower, as well as duplicates of the paperwork. is the only other method to stop this type of abuse. What happened to Edna was subsequently upheld by an independent pharmacist after whistle-blowers raised the alarm but it was not enough to save her.
Had covert cameras been available for use by the whistle-blowers who knew exactly what evidence needed to be filmed, and had that footage been taken to the media, the abuse would have been stopped.
What a CCTV camera would have captured
A medication round.
Case 2. REG
What a covert camera would capture
Reg was completely reliant on staff to empty his Catheter. This did not happen and he was left at risk of infection. The bad staff would take him into the toilet and call him a nuisance and sometimes empty the bag. The power abuser would take him into a toilet and not empty the bag.
A whistle-blower or concerned relative could at this point have used a covert camera outside the toilet area to show the catheter was full.
What CCTV would capture
A resident being taken to the toilet.
Case 3. SUSAN
What a covert camera would capture
Susan was called “aggressive” and was said to be a risk as she lashed out at staff, and as a result she was prescribed sedative medication.
However whistle-blowers knew that a power abuser was bending Susan’s thumb back causing her to lash out. This assault was taking place under the guise of approaching Susan talking to her nicely by bending down in front of her and doing what looked like from a distance as gently holding her hands, only the whistle-blower wearing a covert camera could capture this and it would be difficult but could only be filmed by a human tripod.
What CCTV would capture
Evidence that Susan was violent and needed the sedation her family had questioned. Evidence of allegedly good staff practice.
I could list dozens more examples, the list is endless. The use of covert cameras across the world continues to expose and stop abuse of vulnerable people and the covert cameras’ greatest asset is that they are controlled by concerned staff and relatives who are gathering evidence of specific concerns.
CCTV is easily by-passed by the worst abusers and the abuse is driven into dark corners.
Cameras are powerful tools in the hands of the right people and the safest hands are the people who care and who have no other motive or incentive but stopping abuse and keeping people safe.
The CCTV industry are keen to claim that their cameras highlight good and poor practice, but as an eye witness to the worst abuse I know how the worst abuse is dressed up as good care.
We highly recommend BBC Panorama producer Joe Plomin’s book Hidden Cameras
(please see also Joe's video on our Books page)
Compassion In Care
is dedicated to the memory of Edna who died because BUPA ignored not just one but SEVEN whistleblowers who tried to save her.
The Bupa 7 later became the first PIDA case.
PIDA failed Edna, it failed the
Bupa 7 and it continues to fail whistleblowers and the public.
Will CCTV in care homes stop abuse? NO
Whistleblowers and secret cameras controlled by families uncover abuse.
More workers would become whistleblowers if it was safe to do so.
Currently many know it is not safe because they have seen colleagues being forced out after raising concerns.
We have always been in favour of individuals using covert cameras to film in care homes.
We have never supported the use of overt surveillance cameras
under the control of owners or people who have already shown their willingness to allow neglect in their homes.
Many people with the very best intentions have supported calls for CCTV or are even paying for such systems but
this is a system open to misuse and could even be used against concerned families and staff.
CCTV paid for by families will give them a false sense of security,
because abusers will easily know how to avoid detection, the abuse will continue in places the camera doesn't record,
and the care home owners will be able to say
"No, abuse can't happen here because look, we have CCTV".
Remember that we have proved that many care home owners, with the CQC,
have misled the public for years by the re-registration scam to hide bad reports.
Will these owners hand over footage which is damaging to their profitable businesses?
Consider the following example:
Care Protect, a new company which sells camera surveillance to those with a loved one in a care home,
recently announced their trial run in a Birmingham care home to be a great success.
Care Protect is owned by Philip Scott, who was running Southern Cross at a time
when we visited 60 Southern Cross homes and found appalling conditions,
staffing levels were so low that staff had no hope of delivering the care needed.
Many of our concerns were taken to Private Eye who helped us expose the terrible suffering
of people such as Will Perrin who died in agony covered in appalling pressure sores.
We were the only charity who spoke out against Southern Cross
because we do not take money from care providers or Government.
The charity Action On Elder Abuse was silent, but then it is a matter of record
how much Action On Elder Abuse received from Philip Scott whilst he was running Southern Cross.
Philip Scott left Southern Cross before it went down and started a new company Priory Care Homes,
which was also a generous benefactor to Action on Elder Abuse.
Within weeks of opening, Priory Care Homes were embroiled in yet another scandal
which again we exposed with the help of Private Eye,
eg Charles Court Care Home in Hereford was opened by
the Health Minister Norman Lamb, Philip Scott and Gary Fitzgerald CEO of Action on Elder Abuse,
and the latter received another generous donation from Philip Scott.
Weeks later the suffering in this home reached Southern Cross levels
and the opening event video mysteriously disappeared.
Now we have a situation where the company Care Protect proudly announces its trial camera run at Bramley Court in Birmingham
which was a former Southern Cross home and is now owned by Zest Care.
This home has a long dire history of failures.
Zest Care Homes are run by Philip Scott.
The evidence is available of Philip Scott's track record in running care homes
where vulnerable elderly people suffered while he walked away with millions, much of it from public funds
because many care home residents are funded by NHS continuing healthcare or local authorities.
Please read about Philip Scott's homes in
Tales of the Uninspected, here are just some of them:
Home numbers 33, 36, 41 ,48, 49, 50, 54. 59, 60, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 70, 71 ,72
We say the cameras should point at Philip Scott counting the profits he has made from vulnerable people
who have suffered terribly in his homes.
John McDonnell meeting whistleblowers
at Edna's Law demo
and most of all
are why abuse happens and all our work is aimed at breaking these four links in the chain of elderly abuse.
We work closely with journalists, whistleblowers and families
to expose poor care and abuse.
Our evidence proves that in many cases the
Care Quality Commission failed to take action when alerted by not just one,
but numerous whistleblowers
eg Winterbourne View and
The Old Deanery.
CQC has also deliberately misled the public by claiming to have closed homes
(exposed by us and Private Eye)
and by being complicit with care home owners in allowing them to re-register under a new name to hide bad inspection reports.
Please click below to read the evidence on this joint scam by CQC and care providers
Compassion In Care and The Whistler are not affiliated to any political party.
We are grateful to
Charlotte Leslie (Conservative)
John McDonnell (Labour)
who have supported our work,
have taken time
to listen to whistleblowers and to understand the core issues.
Both have given practical support at Westminster by presenting petitions and attending protests.