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Care home call for public debate.

A call is being made for a national public debate on implementing an opt-in, visible camera scheme in care homes, by the UK’s third largest residential home operator.

Darlington-based HC One, which says it is founded on the principles of accountability, involvement and partnership; has made the call following its own consultations.

Earlier this year the care company, which has its own whistleblowing line, consulted its residents, relatives and staff on an opt-in, visible camera scheme. The call for wider public debate is based on the responses.

More than 12,000 residents, relatives and staff replied to HC-One’s consultation in which 68% backed opt-in visible cameras in homes; 87% of relatives supported their use as did 63% of staff, but 53% of residents opposed the idea.

Chairman of HC-One, Dr Chai Patel, said: “The results of this consultation are vitally important in initiating an industry-wide debate. The potential implementation of an opt-in, visible camera scheme is a serious issue and one for the whole sector to debate in depth.

“We welcome regulators, stakeholders and other interested bodies who wish to share their opinions and ensure that our loved-ones receive the kindest care.”

The consultation revealed a number of concerns about the implementation of the proposed scheme. These included privacy for residents, access to footage, who would watch the footage, where the CCTV film would be stored and where in homes cameras would be placed.

This consultation was the first stage of a three-phase project at HC-One. The second will now focus on an industry-wide debate and a way to assess the results, which HC-One says are inconclusive.

The full report of HC-One’s consultation has been sent to regulators and stakeholders, including the Department of Health.

HC-One is keen to receive feedback from relevant bodies, and any other interested organisations, by December 31, 2014.