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 treated.com) 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.
Treated.com – 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.
The 39 digital healthcare providers investigated by CQC: *note some have already been inspected*
Ada Digital Health
Antrobus Medical Limited
Babylon Healthcare Services Limited
Doctor Care Anywhere Limited
Escripts Marketing Limited
Expert Health Limited
FMC Marketing Limited
Health Bridge Ltd London
Hexpress Healthcare Ltd
iPrimary Care Limited
Medical Prescription Services Ltd
MSF Medical Services Limited
Online Clinic (UK) Limited
Red Label Medical Limited
The Boots Company plc
The GP Service (UK) 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
White Pharmacy Ltd