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HIQA has no plans ‘at present’ for guidelines on secret filming

However, a spokesperson for the agency did add that following the revelations of issues at Aras Attracta late last year, “there is a need to ensure confidence in the system of regulation — it should be noted that no regulator in any country can be in every single unit 24 hours a day, seven days a week”.

These comments follow the recent publication by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in England of guidelines for the use of hidden cameras to monitor the care of people in hospitals and care homes.

“The regulation of services for people with disabilities is in its early stages and HIQA would acknowledge that there is a requirement in the early years of regulation to detect risk that cannot be normally identified through inspection, but also to build up a regulatory relationship with providers of service,” said a HIQA spokesperson.

“It is important to realise that services such as home care services are not the subject of regulation.

“To place covert cameras in places where vulnerable residents are in receipt of personal care has the potential to breach the privacy and dignity of an individual(s) and, as outlined in the CQC guidance, there are issues in the covert filming of staff.”

But the Authority’s spokesperson told MI that “post-Aras Attracta” there is a need to ensure confidence in the system.

“In line with regulatory requirements, but also good governance practice in the provision of care services, it is essential that the provider of services has in place systems to detect harm or harmful practices that place vulnerable residents at risk,” continued the spokesperson.

“At present, HIQA will not be replicating the guidance published by the CQC in England.

“However, HIQA would actively encourage residents, relatives and concerned staff to report any concerns they have to us, as the regulator of these services and other appropriate authorities, and to be absolutely assured that all information received by HIQA is acted upon.”

See Dr Anthony O’Connor’s column ‘Ready for your close-up?

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