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Ministers consider staff body cameras to tackle NHS mental health abuse scandals

Ministers are considering the use of body cameras within mental health units as part of the government’s response to NHS abuse scandals, The Independent has learned.

Senior sources with knowledge of the conversation between the Department for Health and Social Care and the NHS have raised concerns about the plans. There are fears that using the technology in mental health units could have implications for human rights and patient confidentiality.

One senior figure criticised the proposals and said: “The DHSC are all talking about body-worn cameras, closed circuit TV, etc... The whole thing is fraught with huge difficulties regarding human rights, about confidentiality. They are thinking about it [cameras] and it is ridiculous.”

The DHSC’s mental health minister Maria Caulfield said in parliament earlier this month that she and health secretary Steve Barclay were due to meet with NHS officials to discuss what response was needed to recent exposes of abuse within mental health services.

It comes after a string of reports from The Independent, BBC Panorama and Dispatches revealing abuse of inpatients. The Panorama and Dispatches reports included video evidence of abuse captured by hidden cameras.

Following a scathing independent review into the deaths of three young women, Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Trust said it is piloting the use of body-worn cameras across 10 inpatient wards “to support post incident reviews for staff and patients.”

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Source: The Independent, 23 November 2022


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