Banned clinic is back in business
A PRIVATE clinical firm suspended after the unexplained death of an elderly patient will be allowed to practice again in north London.
Clinicenta was banned from providing day surgeries and other ‘out of hospital services’ to 20 boroughs, including Camden and Haringey, in November last year following a string of serious incidents.
But the ban was lifted six months later after investigations by NHS London concluded they were fit to practice again.
Clinicenta is now understood to be in talks with both Camden and Haringey Primary Care Trusts to set dates for when it will re-start its services.
However, health campaigners say they fear this reinstatement could put patients at risk.
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Highgate resident Sarah Cope said her worries had been raised by the inspection process.
In particular she questioned how the Care Quality Commission – despite its inspectors giving Clinicenta a ‘zero poor star service’ rating on their first visit – could later state that there had been improvements without seeing patients being treated.
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The CQC’s report in May this year confirmed: “As the agency was not providing a service it was not possible for it to demonstrate the operational improvements introduced after our key inspection in November 2009.
“We were also not able to get direct feedback about people’s views and experiences of using the service or to look at actual care plans and risk assessments of clients.
“It was therefore not possible to assess the outcomes for people using the service and the impact of the service on the life of these people.”
Ms Cope responded to CQC’s admission, saying: “I don’t know how they can assess that they’re fit to practice again if they haven’t had any patients.
“I certainly wouldn’t want to be a guinea pig considering they had an unexplained death.”
Patient representative and Camden LINk chairman Neil Wookdnick added: “If Clinicenta were commissioned by NHS Camden to provide services in the borough the LINk would be concerned that adequate scrutiny arrangements were in place.
“But that goes for all healthcare provision both NHS and private sector providers.”
A spokesman for NHS London said Clincenta’s contract had been reactivated but stressed that the firm would continue to be monitored.
He said: “Out of Hospital services run by Clinicenta were suspended with immediate effect in November last year when concerns were raised. This suspension has remained in place until we were confident that all of the issues had been addressed – however we will not allow services to restart until Clinicenta is fully ready to do so.
“Clinicenta is currently engaging with PCTs to agree when this start date will be.”
Ian Wilson, chief executive of Haringey PCT, said: “Clinicenta have spare capacity that’s already paid for from other parts of London and for us just to use that for free and to save those costs on elective surgeries elsewhere in the healthcare system is just a no-brainer.
“We’re told they’re clinically safe so why wouldn’t we? It’s out duty to try to get the best out of taxpayers’ money.”