HIDDEN cameras in care homes could be a valuable weapon to prevent abuse and neglect, the chief of adult social care in Worcestershire believes.

Watchdog the Care Quality Commission (CQC) is considering using cameras and ‘mystery shopper’ type schemes as it looks to protect vulnerable people “by any means possible” in the wake of the Winterbourne View scandal.

Five people from Worcestershire were placed at Winterbourne View, near Bristol, when it closed in 2011 shortly after an investigation by the BBC’s Panorama programme uncovered a regime of systematic abuse of its residents.

Richard Harling, Worcestershire County Council’s director of adult services and health, tentatively backed the scheme.

He said: “We support extra vigilance regarding the safeguarding of adults.”

New CQC chief inspector of adult social care Andrea Sutcliffe acknowledges hidden cameras are a “sensitive subject”

but believes they could still offer a solution and wants a “proper conversation”

on their use.

Clare Mudge, manager of Welland House Care Centre, near Malvern, said she would not be opposed to the use of cameras, but is not sure how the idea would realistically be implemented.

The move will be considered ahead of the launch of a new system for monitoring and rating care homes next year.