Burton-upon-Trent-based pharmaceutical supplier Healthcare at Home has been placed into special measures by the Care Quality Commission which rated the company’s service as Inadequate, Staffordshire Live has reported.
Healthcare at Home provides care and treatment to people with chronic conditions such as Crohn’s disease, haemophilia and HIV in their own homes. The company works with NHS trusts and private providers across the country and delivers around 110,000 prescriptions a month, employing 950 staff.
After an unannounced inspection in November and December, the CQC found that people using the service had been harmed. Inspectors found shortfalls in the service, including unsuitable IT systems, which meant nearly 10,000 medicine deliveries were missed from October to December last year causing patients avoidable harm and in need of hospital treatment.
In addition. Healthcare at Home was found to have failed to investigate safety breaches and assess risk, and had poor record-keeping, including records about people’s allergies.
Inspectors also stated there was a culture where patients, their families and staff “were not empowered” to raise concerns. Some patients said they feared their medicine deliveries would be cancelled if they complained, while some of the company’s employees reported they feared being sacked if they raised concerns or contacted the CQC.
The report stated: “This inspection was carried out in response to concerns raised in relation to patients not receiving their prescribed medicines on time and being unable to contact the provider. We did not look at all the key lines of enquiry during this inspection.
“However, the information we gathered and the seriousness of the concerns and clear impact on patients provided enough information to make a judgment about the quality of care and to re-rate the provider.
“During this inspection, due to the seriousness of the concerns, we suspended Healthcare at Home’s rating.
“We served the provider with a letter of intent under Section 31 of the Health and Social Care Act 2008, to warn them of possible urgent enforcement action.
“We told the provider that we were considering whether to use our powers to urgently impose conditions on their registration.
“The effect of using Section 31 powers is serious and immediate. The provider was told to submit an action plan within four days that described how it was addressing the concerns.
“On receipt of the action plan we undertook a review and were not assured by the actions the provider described and therefore served a Notice of Decision to urgently impose conditions on the provider registration.”
Date published: May 14, 2021