An online health clinic that was suspended by the Care Quality Commission last year for failing to comply with standards is up and running again. 

In November 2016, the CQC conducted an inspection on HR Healthcare Ltd (trading through the website where it concluded the service failed to meet the legal requirements for providing safe services.  

Shortly after it was suspended for six months.

Inspectors found a significant clinical safety and organisational risk to patients, with widespread failings to provide safe care.

Among the concerns included lack of identity checks for patients, no systems or processes to contact the patient’s regular GP such as when medication was prescribed that required monitoring, nor were there assurances that clinicians had relevant skills or qualifications for their role. – an online clinic for patients providing consultations and prescriptions and medicines – is now active following the CQC’s focused follow-up inspection on 17 July.

The CQC inspectors found “arrangements had improved” following the company’s plan to meet the legal requirements relating to last year’s breaches.

“The service now had clearly defined and embedded systems, processes and systems in place to keep patients safe and safeguarded from abuse”, the August 17 report stated.

Other key improvements included having their clinical system updated to allow clinicians to easily access previous patient consultations, communication and prescriptions; having identity checks for patients ordering medicines; and having a system in place to monitor prescribing in line with best practise and NICE guidance.

CQC’s inspection of HR Healthcare Ltd was initially triggered by an investigation by Dr Faye Kirkland for BBC Radio 5 Live Investigates in October 2016, which looked at the online sale of antibiotics from the provider.

In recent months, the CQC has published several inspection reports that have been critical of providers of digital patient services.

Last month, Digital Health News reported on poor inspection reports for Index Medical Limitedand Pharmacy 2U. The previous month saw criticism for digital GP service Push Doctor.

The 39 digital healthcare providers investigated by CQC: *note some have already been inspected*

Ada Digital Health

Antrobus Medical Limited

Anytime Medical Limited – Anytime Doctor

Babylon Healthcare Services Limited

Doctor Care Anywhere Limited

Dr Morton’s

Dr Now (Now Healthcare Group Limited)

Escripts Marketing Limited

Expert Health Limited

FMC Marketing Limited

Freedomhealth Ltd

Health Bridge Ltd London

Hexpress Healthcare Ltd

Homeocare Ltd

Icebreaker Medical

Index Medical Limited

iPrimary Care Limited

Medical Prescription Services Ltd

MSF Medical Services Limited

Online Clinic (UK) Limited

Postmymeds Limited

PrivateDoc Ltd

Push Doctor Limited

Red Label Medical Limited

SH:24 C.I.C

The Boots Company plc

The GP Service (UK) Ltd

VideoDoc LTD

Yakub Chemist Limited

Doc Reports Limited (iGP)

Doctor Matt Ltd

e-med Private Medical Services

Express Dispense Ltd

Frosts Pharmacy Ltd

HR Healthcare Limited

Nationwide Pharmacies Ltd

Pharmacy2U Limited

White Pharmacy Ltd