A private online health clinic that includes a pharmacy service has had its registration with care quality commissioners restored following a fresh inspection.
treated.com’s registration with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) was temporarily suspended in November 2016 after inspectors found that it failed to meet all its statutory requirements as an online primary care provider.
The CQC inspectors were at that time concerned about “significant” clinical and patient safety issues.
Criticisms of the site, run by HR Healthcare Ltd, included failure to have an effective system in place for clinical alerts or significant events, improper management of patient risk assessments and poor staff training with some non-clinical staff assessing patient needs.
There was also no systematic access to patient records or details of previous consultations, which meant assessment and prescribing decisions were dependent on information supplied by patients.
The organisation’s CQC registration was restored in August 2017 after a follow up inspection revealed that “all the required improvements had been made”.
Riaz Vali, registered manager for HR Healthcare, said that although not all online pharmacies and clinics chose to register with the CQC, HR Healthcare Ltd. strived to provide the very best care possible to their patients, and in order to do that, they saw meeting the standards set by the CQC as an essential requirement.
“As such, following the inspection last November, we welcomed their recommendations, and got straight to work,” he added.
The November 2016 inspection was prompted by an investigation by BBC Radio 5 Live in October 2016, which looked into the online sale of antibiotics from the provider.
HR Healthcare Ltd was one of the first of 39 online primary care providers to be inspected by the CQC as part of a new rolling programme.
Since the beginning of this year the CQC has published inspection reports on a total of 21 online providers of primary care, with the latest round of inspections due to be completed in Autumn 2017.
As the independent regulator of health and care services, the CQC has a role to inspect the “regulated activities” that are provided under the health and social care act, which include GP consultations and prescribing. The General Pharmaceutical Council remains the professional regulator of pharmacy.