A COUNCILLOR has called on CCTV to be deployed to protect elderly residents in nursing homes after serious safety risks were uncovered.
Solihull Green Party leader James Burn has joined calls from Conservative government ministers to introduce the plans which he says will prevent abuse and neglect.
The calls come as struggling Chelmunds Court in Chelmsley Wood remained rated as ‘inadequate’ and in ‘special measures’ after a new inspection.
National watchdog the Care Quality Commission (CQC) found frail elderly residents were at ongoing risk of harm and abuse – mainly through mishandling of medicine.
The home in Pomeroy Way is a purpose-built 73-bed residential complex for the elderly – mainly those with dementia.
The facility – placed in ‘special measures’ in July – is operated by Runwood Homes Group which has overseen ‘improvement plans’ over the last few months.
Solihull council commissions some beds at the home, and has been involved with the improvement plans.
Coun Burn said there remain unanswered questions about Solihull council’s role in responding to problems and called on it to act to prevent future failures in other homes.
He said: “In light of the Runwood Homes scandal, I’m calling on the Conservatives to require CCTV in care homes as part of their procurement process for care home places.
“In doing so, I’m joining MPs from all parties and Caroline Dinenage, the health minister, in suggesting this is a good plan.
“Abuse and neglect has risen over the last few years in care homes – apart from those who have CCTV installed to monitor staff.
“I am concerned the council knew about the problem in December and was working with the home to sort it out, yet by June the home was rated inadequate in all areas.
“This was after six months of the council’s knowledge and it working to improve the situation.”
A council spokesperson said no-one has been admitted into the home since the CQC suspended admissions in June.
But a council spokesperson said: “Between December and May, one or two residents were admitted per week at most, because of the persistent difficulties in securing a skilled staff team.”
A University College London study in March found staff at 91 of the 92 homes it surveyed identified some form of abuse taking place in homes, prompting calls for the introduction of CCTV.
The study investigated ‘abuse’ such as making a residents wait for care, avoiding a resident with challenging behaviour or giving residents insufficient time for food.
Cabinet member for adult social care and health Karen Grinsell said: “The decision whether to use surveillance is for care providers to make in consultation with the people who use their services, and with families, carers, and staff.
“The council follows CQC guidance on this matter and supports the advice that there are other, less intrusive steps a provider can take to ensure that care is of high quality and consistently safe.
“We have a duty to respect peoples’ right to privacy and dignity, and would always want to encourage a natural relationship between the person providing care and the person receiving it.
“This might not happen if CCTV cameras were in place.”
We contacted Runwood Homes to comment but have received no response.