• Concerns about “quality and safety” of work carried out by two sonographers employed by Bestcare Diagnostics
  • Patients were treated in Coastal West Sussex area
  • Company now in liquidation after being suspended from contracts

Ultrasound scans for around 1,800 patients have had to be reviewed over concerns about the “quality and safety” of work carried out by two sonographers employed by an independent provider.

The two sonographers — who have not been named — were employed by Bestcare Diagnostics. The company held an “any qualified provider” contract for non-obstetric ultrasound scans with Coastal West Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group from April 2017.

This contract was suspended in September 2018 over what the CCG said were “quality issues”. However, new information came to light in spring 2019 and the CCG decided to review all 1,800 patients seen by the pair, who worked for the company between April and August 2018.

The CCG said scans for these patients were reviewed and, wherever possible, the patients were contacted. A second stage of the review will look at whether any harm was caused to the patients.

In a statement, it said: “As part of quality control monitoring, NHS Coastal West Sussex CCG suspended Bestcare from delivering any services to our patients in September 2018. The CCG identified concerns over the ultrasound scans performed by two sonographers working for Bestcare, who provided non-obstetric ultrasounds to patients locally.

“A doctor-led review is being undertaken to assess patients’ records to determine if any further action is required. Our first priority has been patient safety and patients involved in the harm review have or are in the process of being contacted. We will publish a full report once the review is completed.”

Bestcare Diagnostics went into voluntary liquidation last month. It had also been suspended from carrying out work in Greater Manchester last December over concerns about its business practices.

The company provided non-obstetric ultrasound operating out of more than 50 GP surgeries across 12 CCGs, according to a Care Quality Commission report which rated it “good” following an inspection in April 2019. That report does not mention its work in Sussex.

Greater Manchester

Salford CCG, the lead commissioner for CCGs in Greater Manchester, confirmed it had suspended Bestcare in December “after receiving information over concerns relating to the business practices”.

The company had carried out nearly 18,500 scans for the NHS in Greater Manchester between April and December last year. The CCG said it is not carrying out a harm review at the moment.

Salford CCG board papers from November 2019 showed it was contacted by Coastal West Sussex earlier last year with concerns over Bestcare, including issues around policies and procedures such as safeguarding, complaints and incidents investigations, and staff supervision. The Greater Manchester CCGs did not find any significant concerns in their area at that time, but a number of actions were agreed after a quality assurance visit.

However, when approached by HSJ, the CCG did not say what prompted it to change its mind and suspend the provider.

The company also carried out more than 300 scans for Leeds CCG from April last year until it ceased trading. The CCG said there had been “no concerns” about its work.

Accounts filed at Companies House showed the company had net assets of less than £10,000 in March 2019. Later that year, one of the directors, Sohail Ahmad Khan stood down and control passed to Rukhsana Tarannum. Dr Khan has since set up a new company, Supreme Care Health Solution, which is not registered with the CQC.

HSJ has attempted to approach Dr Khan and Ms Tarannum for comment, but has been unable to make contact with them.


The Patient Safety Congress

The Patient Safety Congress, taking place on 13-14 July 2020, brings together more than 1,000 people with the shared aim of transforming patient safety. It draws together contributions from patient speakers, safety experts from healthcare and other safety critcal industries, and frontline innovators, to challenge and drive forward on patient safety. You will be part of influential conversations with those responsible for driving the new national strategy on patient safety and take away real solutions that you can adopt to improve outcomes where you work.