PERFORMANCE: The Care Quality Commission has said it will take “action” in relation to privately-run Lister Surgicentre, after it concluded patients’ health and welfare continue to be put at risk by the facility.

A CQC inspection report criticised the centre’s “standards of quality and sustainability of management” and a spokeswoman said: “CQC is now taking action to protect people who use the service, however our legal processes do not allow us to go in to further detail at this time.”

HSJ understands details of the action will become public in the next couple of months.

The report, published on 20 February, said: “There was still no evidence of a systematic or consistent approach to the identification, assessment and management of risks required to ensure people’s health and welfare were protected.” 

Inspectors said concerns they had raised previously - about shortfalls in surgeon sessions and treatment delays - had not been addressed.

The news follows commissioners raising concerns about the centre, run by Clinicenta Ltd, part of Carillion, four weeks ago, following an independent probe into a three deaths at the facility.

The probe concluded that three patients who died after routine surgery were given satisfactory care.

But East and North Hertfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group said the review’s findings had not addressed its“on-going and continuing concerns” about the centre’s leadership.

The CQC’s assessment is the latest in a string of critical reports on the centre by the regulator.

Last April it gave the centre’s owners a formal warning after it found too few medical staff were sometimes on duty, partly because medical staff’s holidays had not been taken into account when planning workforce numbers.

Stephen McPartland, Conservative MP for Stevenage, and Sharon Taylor, the Labour leader of Stevenage Borough Council, have both called for control of the centre to be handed over to East and North Hertfordshire Trust.

Mike Hobbs, Director for Clinicenta said: “We can confirm that we have received the CQC’s latest report, which relates to the inspection of surgical activity at Lister Surgicentre, following an unannounced inspection carried out on 5 December.

“Following the CQC’s previous report, which made recommendations for improvements at Lister Surgicentre, we put in place strengthened measures and immediately took this feedback on board.

“The CQC report recognises the improvements that have been made and have found no immediate risk to patient safety.

“However, the CQC continues to be concerned around the management of waiting lists and the embedding of learning from clinical incidents. We have been working hard with our staff to ensure that lessons from events are learnt and embedded into clinical practice.  

“Since the date of the inspection we have had confirmation from the NHS Intensive Support Team that our systems, process and reporting of the RTT pathway is consistent with the letter and the intent of the RTT rules. We continue to make progress in increasing surgical activity and waiting times are reducing and in many specialties there is 18 week compliance. We do recognise that there is more to be done to achieve full compliance.

“We have taken the CQC’s feedback very seriously and are continuing to work extremely hard to ensure that we make the required improvements that will give all of our services a clean bill of health from the CQC.”