Hudgell Solicitors says widespread support for a petition calling for CCTV to be installed in all care homes across the country has highlighted the need for greater protection of the vulnerable and elderly in care in the UK.
The petition was initially started by Rochdale resident Lisa Smith, who took the decision to take her 86-year-old father Joshua out of care shortly before Christmas, describing the family’s last four years as ‘a living nightmare’.
She was supported by our Love Our Vulnerable and Elderly (Love) campaign, in which we called for the elderly and vulnerable to be loved, respected, protected and treated with dignity in care at all times.
Given we were also representing a number of families who had turned to secret filming and had caught abusive and neglectful care on camera, we also supported the call for CCTV systems to be installed in all care homes, citing better protection for not only residents themselves, but also care home operators and staff against malicious allegations.
The campaign attracted national newspaper and television coverage, in particular when the family of an 84-year-old woman who was cruelly taunted and mimicked by her carers released shocking images of the ‘horrific pressure sores’ she suffered whilst in same home, showing she was also subjected to agonising physical neglect.
Pressure sores on Freda Jobson’s lower back and heel were described as ‘some of the worst seen’ by our medical negligence specialist Lauren Dale, who is currently representing the family in pursuing a civil claim over her care.
It resulted in 12,896 people signing the petition – which ended today – forcing the Government to make an official statement on its position regarding the use of CCTV and the protection of people in care and residential homes.
In its response, which was emailed to all who signed the petition, the Government stated that it is not against the use of CCTV, saying it must be done ‘in consultation with and with the permission of those residents and their families.’
It also pointed to Care Quality Commission (CQC) guidance for care homes and the families of residents on the issues that should be taken into account when deciding whether or not to use CCTV or other forms of covert surveillance.
Lauren Dale, a specialist in representing families in care home abuse cases at Hudgell Solicitors, said: “We are pleased that the petition and our campaign has brought unacceptable standards of care of the vulnerable and elderly across the country into the spotlight.
“It has also been very pleasing to see so many people across the country, including many who have worked within the care profession themselves, backing the call for change.
“In our work we see far too many cases of neglect and abusive care of elderly people. It is an escalating problem and one which should now be a priority to tackle.
“The Government has recognised this problem in its response to the thousands who signed the petition, so the campaign does not stop there, and we will continue to support families in calling for better care and protection of the elderly and vulnerable, and represent those families who are so badly let down in getting justice for their loved ones.”