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Private care provider at Paddington’s St Mary’s Hospital rated ‘inadequate’

PUBLISHED: 18:17 09 October 2017

Inspectors from a care watchdog have rated St Mary's Urgent Care Centre inadequate.     Picture: PA Images/Nick Ansell

Inspectors from a care watchdog have rated St Mary's Urgent Care Centre inadequate. Picture: PA Images/Nick Ansell

PA Archive/PA Images

A privately-run urgent care centre in St Mary’s Hospital has been slammed by the care watchdog for failing to protect children and vulnerable adults.

CQC inspector Michele Golden said: We found there had been a lack of clear management and clinical leadership and staff had not felt supported. CQC inspector Michele Golden said: We found there had been a lack of clear management and clinical leadership and staff had not felt supported." Picture: Philip Wolmuth

The centre missed opportunities to prevent harm by failing to double check x-ray results and lacked an “effective” way to recall patients with missed fractures after a backlog of more than 1,500 x-ray images piled up.

St Mary’s Urgent Care Centre (UCC), run by private healthcare provider Vocare Limited in the Praed Street hospital, was rated inadequate in a Care Quality Commission (CQC) report published last Thursday.

CQC lead inspector Michele Golden said: “We found there had been a lack of clear management and clinical leadership and staff had not felt supported.

“On the day of the inspection we observed members of staff were courteous and helpful to patients,” she added.

Inspectors found the centre failed to safeguard children and adults finding its system to flag up concerns, staff training and the centre’s work with outside agencies inadequate.

They found patients’ conversations with receptionists could be overheard by people in the waiting area.

The CQC told Vocare it must ensure treatment is provided in a safe way, achieve good governance and support its staff. It went on to recommend the company review privacy and how hard-of-hearing patients access the service.

Dr Michael Harrison, clinical director of Vocare, said: “We are taking the report very seriously. The assessment visit took place in July so we have had over 10 weeks to put in place a clear plan of action designed to address the CQC’s concerns. In most cases, new systems, processes and procedures have already been introduced with the final measures imminent.”

He said staff training had improved, a new role of director of quality and nursing introduced and measures taken to improve governance.

“We area confident we have addressed all concerns raised and patient safety has not been compromised. We will continue to work with our local commissioners to ensure high levels of continuous improvement,” he added. Now in special measures St Mary’s UCC will be inspected in six months. Without sufficient improvements Vocare could be barred from running the service.

An Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust spokeswoman said: ““We’re disappointed the centre has had to be placed in special measures.

“We will continue to work with all partners involved in delivering the urgent care service at St Mary’s to help them address these urgent concerns.”

She added provision at the centre was awarded to London Doctors Urgent Care (LDUC), part of Vocare Limited, by Central London Clinical Commissioning Group in April 2016 following a competitive tender process.

Free at the point of access, GPs and nurses at privately run urgent care centres take patients with non-life-threatening ailments from A&E departments.

Now in special measures St Mary’s UCC will be inspected in six months. Without sufficient improvements Vocare could be barred from running the service.

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