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Lawyer Demands Rigorous Treatment Centre Inspections Following This Week’s Panorama Special ‘Dying To Be Treated?’

Independent Sector Treatment Centres "Should Be Scrutinised To The Same Standard As The Rest Of The NHS"


The Care Quality Commission must implement thorough inspections across all independent sector treatment centres in the UK, according to the lawyer who worked on the shocking case which led to increased assessments.

Irwin Mitchell’s Leeds office provided representation for the family of John Hubley at the Inquest into his death last November. John Hubley died at Eccleshill Independent Sector Treatment Centre (ISTC) in January 2007 after routine keyhole surgery to remove his gall bladder went badly wrong.

At the inquest it was revealed that Eccleshill ISTC had no blood or blood products available on site, no equipment to heat blood up and key medical equipment was unavailable.

The CQC has now said that Dr Hubley’s death was “an absolute tragedy” and that an investigation into the circumstances has led it to announce that it is “checking with all registered independent treatment centres that they have robust and appropriate systems in place”.

Solicitor Margaret Poyner, who provided representation for Dr Hubley’s family at the inquest into his death, said: “It is good news that the CQC is making the safety of patients who undergo procedures at ISTC’s a priority but it must implement a thorough and regular system of inspections and not just complete a one-off check.

“They must also ensure that the policies and procedures that are in place at ISTC’s do in fact work. The system of approving a procedure without seeing it put into action is what allowed the quality of care received by Dr Hubley to reach such a dreadful level. There was a procedure in place at Eccleshill ISTC to obtain blood and blood products within 30 minutes but it did not work. Serious steps must be taken to ensure similar tragedies are not repeated.

“Simple checks by the CQC will not be enough – these treatment centres should be scrutinised to the same standard as the rest of the NHS. Only then can the CQC be sure it is doing enough to protect the safety of patients.”