Sowerby Bridge MRI scanning service rated inadequate by Care Quality Commission

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A Calderdale MRI scanning service has been rated inadequate by Care Quality Commission inspectors.

The CQC has rated InPhase Mobile MRI Services Ltd inadequate overall following an inspection in December 2021.

InPhase Mobile MRI Services Ltd, based in West Yorkshire, provides a mobile MRI scanning service to NHS and private patients.

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This was the first inspection of the service since it registered with CQC in 2018.

MRI scannerMRI scanner
MRI scanner

Inspectors looked at how safe, responsive and well-led the service was.

Following the inspection, the service was rated inadequate overall.

It was rated inadequate for being well-led and rated requires improvement for being responsive and safe.

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A warning notice was issued which told the service it needed to make significant improvements to its governance processes.

Sarah Dronsfield, CQC’s head of hospital inspection, said: “When we inspected InPhase Mobile MRI Services Ltd, we had concerns about the overall governance of the service which affected patient care and how well the service was operating.

“Records and clinical audits weren’t carried out appropriately meaning there was no way to show patient information was being accurately recorded. This puts people at risk of harm as not all staff may have access to important information about their needs.

“There were no recruitment processes in place to check if trained and experienced staff were being employed, and instead relied upon people’s substantive employment within an NHS trust as suitable experience.

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“The service also relied upon employees’ previous employment for any necessary training but there was no formal process to identify any gaps.

"For example, it hadn’t been identified that someone employed from outside the NHS hadn’t completed mandatory training required for their role.

"This put people at risk of being treated by staff who did not have the skills and experience to care for them.

“Following the inspection, the provider took immediate action to ensure staff recruitment checks met the necessary requirements.

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“It was also concerning that managers didn’t investigate or empower staff to learn from incidents internally and instead directed staff to escalate incidents using the reporting system of the host trust.

“We will continue to monitor the service and expect to see rapid improvements and we will inspect again to ensure this is the case.”

The service had a vision for what it wanted to achieve, however the strategy to turn it into action with all relevant stakeholders had been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, inspectors found.

The vision and strategy focused on sustainability of services and aligned to local plans within the wider health economy, the report revealed.

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The service demonstrated a willingness to participate in improving services and encouraging innovation - for example managers had developed a children’s animation, in collaboration with an NHS trust, to support their understanding of the MRI process.

Inspectors found that staff did not always receive the appropriate training on how to safeguard patients in line with best practice.

Staff did not receive a full induction programme which prepared and supported them to undertake their role, inspectors said.

The service did not maintain an accurate and contemporaneous record of each patient, including a record of the care and treatment provided and discussions of consent.

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The provider had no recruitment process in place to ensure that directors and employees satisfied the necessary requirements needed for their role and did not display complaint information making it difficult for patients to share negative feedback.

However, inspectors also found the service was inclusive and took account of patients’ individual needs and preferences, reasonable adjustments were made to help patients access services.

Patients could access the service when they needed it and received the right care promptly, inspectors said.

The service had enough staff to keep patients safe from avoidable harm and to provide the right care and treatment.

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Management had created a culture that respected, supported and valued their staff. Incentives available included flexible working patterns, staff bonuses and social events with directors, inspectors found.

The report will be published on the CQC website on Tuesday February 22.

A spokesperson for InPhase said: "We were, of course, extremely disappointed with the inspection outcome and as a trusted supplier of staffed diagnostic services to the NHS we are doing all that we can to correct the office compliance concerns raised by the CQC.

"We have a fantastic, highly skilled complement of NHS derived staff who have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic to keep waiting lists down for patients requiring MRI scans.

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"We have an exemplary patient safety record and have had nothing but positive feedback from our 7400 + patients to date.

"We put patients at the heart of everything we do and we are very proud of the clinical service that our vastly experienced staff deliver daily.

"Unfortunately, the CQC were unable to inspect/rate 2 of the 5 standards, namely 'caring' and 'effective' due the Omicron wave of the pandemic.

"They were forced to cancel all inspection activity of our clinical site over Christmas/New Year and were unable to speak to our staff.

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"The inspection team have given the directorate until March the 31st to address any specific elements of office compliance.

"We have raised our own concerns with regard to the fragmented and incomplete nature of the inspection process and we hope to be re-inspected in full within the next 3 months as per the advised CQC criteria."