SA-BEST welcomes government trial of CCTV cameras in aged care bedrooms

11 April 2019

The State Government’s selective trial of CCTV cameras in bedrooms of aged care residents has the full support of SA-BEST.

SA-BEST MLC and Ageing spokesperson, Frank Pangallo - whose currently has a Private Members Bill before Parliament making it compulsory for state-operated aged care facilities to provide an “opt in” option where residents or their families can choose to have a CCTV camera installed in their private living quarters and mandatory in common areas – said the trial was “very much welcome, but long overdue.”

He has been calling on the government to trial independently-monitored CCTV cameras in aged care facilities it operates since February.

“This is a great day for the aged care sector in SA – but more importantly, those elderly members of our community who live in them,” Frank said.

“SA-BEST has long campaigned for CCTV technology to be made available to aged care residents who wish to have them installed in their bedrooms,” he said.

“This Australian-first initiative has the potential for South Australia to set the national agenda in the vital area of protecting our elderly residents while in aged care and I applaud the government on undertaking the trial.

“While I remain disappointed that while giving it in-principle support, both major parties have decided not to support my proposed legislation in its current form, the trial is a step in the right direction.”

The State Government announced today that CCTV camera technology will be installed in the bedrooms of aged care residents – if they so choose – in at least five government-operated facilities as part of a 12-month trial that will start in the second half of this year.

It follows a $500,000 investment by the Federal Government.

“I only hope the $500,000 commitment isn’t contingent on the Liberals winning the Federal election, otherwise we will be back where we started from,” Frank said.

Under the proposed pilot program, “leading edge” technology developed by UK-based company, Care Protect – the same company endorsed by Frank – will be used.

“Safeguards like closed circuit television cameras can help restore faith and trust in the system - and serve as positive form of protection not just for vulnerable adults but also for staff and proprietors,” Frank said.

“They could have saved the life of an elderly resident killed recently in a bedroom fire at the Ira Parker aged care facility at Balaklava,” he said.

Frank said he was alarmed by an ABC media report about the alleged rape of an elderly dementia resident by another resident in a communal area of an interstate nursing home run by Bupa, which was caught on camera.

He is also aware of a serious aggravated assault against of an elderly man by a fellow resident at a Bupa-operated aged care facility in SA.

The resident later died from complications arising from his injuries, however Bupa has refused to release footage of the incidents to the family.

Frank has written to the Police Commissioner and the Coroner asking them both to reverse their decision not to investigate the incident.

“This is completely unacceptable. We need to change laws that make reporting of incidents mandatory,” Frank said.

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