Harley Street clinics ordered to make improvements by the CQC

The safety of patient care in the private sector has been cast into the spotlight again this week after two separate clinics in London’s Harley Street district were rated ‘Inadequate’ by the CQC.

The Wimpole Aesthetic Centre and the London Heart Centre Ltd, both on Wimpole Street in the heart of Marylebone, have been given six months to make improvements after the regulator found them to be ‘Inadequate’ on the questions of whether they are safe and well-led.

Inspectors at the Wimpole Aesthetic Centre said they were concerned by the lack of screening of new admissions, governance structures and employment checks. In addition, the CQC said the centre did not monitor the effectiveness of care and treatment and that managers did not always have the right skills and abilities to run a service providing high-quality sustainable care.

An inspection of the London Heart Centre Ltd, which provides electrocardiogram and stress echocardiography services for adults and young people, last November found that staff did not have the right skills and abilities to provide high-quality sustainable care and no effective systems were in place to drive improvement and ensure high standards.

Both inspection reports did find examples of good practice but the CQC said it would consider taking further action if the required improvements are not made in the specified time period.

Safety and governance have been key issues for the sector over the last year in the wake of the Paterson Inquiry, the CQC’s State of Care Report and former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s letter to providers, warning them to take steps to improve quality and safety.

The sector has taken swift action to address the regulator’s concerns and at the end of last year, IHPN announced that Sir Bruce Keogh will lead the creation of a new framework on how consultants are overseen in independent hospitals.

Neither clinic responded to HM’s request for comment.