Cameras in care homes not ruled out

Minister for Social Care Kathleen Lynch says concerns arise over potential intrusion

Minister for Social Care Kathleen Lynch said no definitive decision had been made but did not rule out cameras in care homes in some cases. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Minister for Social Care Kathleen Lynch said no definitive decision had been made but did not rule out cameras in care homes in some cases. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

 

The Government has not ruled out the possibility of introducing cameras and other forms of monitoring in certain care homes but are concerned about a potential “intrusion on dignity” that might arise in some facilities.

Minister of State for Social Care Kathleen Lynch said cameras may be employed in some situations but that no definitive, overall decision has been reached.

She was responding to reports of a U-turn on previously mooted plans to have such measures introduced following allegations of abuse at the Aras Attracta facility in Swinford, Co Mayo.

“I am not certain that they would be appropriate in all homes,” said Ms Lynch, who has responsibility for primary and social care.

“Where it is their home since birth, I think we do have to put increased monitoring into places like that. I am sure we will find nothing but just in case; I would be very worried that the lack of monitoring could leave it open to suggestions that maybe behaviour is not appropriate.”

However, she qualified the position for people with intellectual disabilities, who are capable of communicating, saying such measures may potentially lead to an “intrusion on their dignity”.

The same could be said of elderly residences, she said, adding the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) had a role in oversight and residents are often in receipt of regular visits from family members.

Ms Lynch was speaking at the launch of new HSE guidelines on providing accessible services to patients with disabilities, launched at the Mater hospital in Dublin on Tuesday.

Concerns in relation to care homes have come into focus following an RTÉ Prime Time investigation into alleged mistreatment of residents at Aras Attracta last year.

In response HSE director general Tony O’Brien flagged a potential for under cover inspections saying such a move would have “certain values”.

Minister for Health Leo Varadkar also voiced his support.