Covert surveillance and mystery-shopper style inspections may form part of the new CQC inspection regime for care homes and domiciliary care. Andrea Sutcliffe, one of three new CQC chief inspectors announced the possibility of using these techniques to tackle potential abuse and neglect in care homes as part of a 'fresh start' to inspection and regulation across the country.  This follows on from CQC's recent proposals to introduce a new regime of simplified, easier to enforce standards of care, including a statutory duty of candour across the health and social care sector (click here to see our alert).

CQC will carry out further consultations on the proposals prior to commencing pilots of the new model of inspection in Spring 2014.  However,  the issue is likely to raise a host of challenges for inspectors, care homes, local authorities and commissioners alike when considering how such a strategy could be implemented within the strict legal frameworks. For example, how does this fit with the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA), the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and the Data Protection Act 1998?

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We have unrivalled experience in this field, working across the whole regulatory and care sector. Our experience includes acting for public and independent health and social care providers as well as health and social care regulators. In particular, we have advised clients on the use of surveillance and the complex legal considerations that this may entail.  

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