Yarm-based Care Protect, the pioneering safety organisation, is expanding into Australia in response to an abuse crisis within the country’s care homes.

The Federal Government has already announced plans to set up a powerful new watchdog as part of a review of the care system. The review was sparked by a scandal in Adelaide’s Oakden nursing home, which was followed by other similar incidents being reported.

As in the UK, families in Australia have been driven to installing secret cameras to check up on the quality of care their relatives are receiving.

The Australian operation will be headed up by former City broker Scott Sterling. Belfast-born Scott, who graduated from Kingston University with a Business Management degree, will work from a Sydney base with care providers across the country to introduce the proven benefits of the unique Care Protect system.

Care Protect’s monitoring system employs the latest sound and motion sensitive technology which, when activated by a ‘resident event’, triggers recording which, within seconds alerts the 24/7 professional monitor. This reduces risk because assistance can be provided to a resident within seconds of the event having occurred, and encourages staff behaviour conducive to a low risk environment.

As in the UK, independent, experienced health and social care professionals will monitor the recordings.

The use of camera surveillance is widely supported by the public in the UK. Care Protect research revealed that around two-thirds of people would be more likely to choose a care home for a family member if independently monitored event triggered cameras were in place.

Philip Scott, founder of Care Protect, said: “The care sector in Australia has been under fire for a couple of years now, triggered by a number of high-profile cases.

“Our experience tackling abuse and poor quality care and using monitoring to drive standards of care is something I believe will support the efforts of the Australian Government and the new Aged Care Quality & Safety Commission.

“The results from UK providers using the system are hugely encouraging and demonstrate the very tangible benefits for forward-thinking care providers.

“Understandably, the use of cameras in a care setting is an emotive subject and I am sure any debate will trigger concerns about intrusion into people’s privacy. However, such fears should not stifle an informed debate about technologies that can materially improve safeguarding for vulnerable people.”

Scott Sterling said: “I am very excited about the challenges ahead. Moving to Australia to work with Care Protect is a huge career change for me, but one I am very much looking forward to.

“There is a real perception that elderly care in Australia is in crisis and openness and transparency are essential, if it is to retain the trust and confidence of families and residents.

“In the 21st Century, technologies such as Care Protect allow for daily, independent, professional monitoring that assures families their decision to select a care home for their elderly parent was and continues to be the right choice. This is the ethos I will be taking with me to Australia.”