Mayor's watching

Published: Monday 30 November -0001

-- (Credit: Paulo MacDonald)The mayor of a Brazilian town has provoked complaints after he installed cameras in a health centre to monitor the quality of service to the public. The cameras send images and sound from the reception and a pharmacy directly to the offices of the mayor of Foz do Iguacu and other senior officials.

Mayor Paulo MacDonald said the move was to improve efficiency, and has suggested the Brazilian government extend it to 28 other sites. But some staff said the project is a breach of patient privacy. Employees of the health centre have signed a petition complaining about the level of scrutiny, while opinion among patients appears to be divided.

"We have received many complaints about poor service, sometimes rudeness, from the public," MacDonald said. But the health department said monitoring the work of medical professionals attending gravely ill people, some of those with psychiatric problems, was an invasion of privacy and illegal.

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