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Spinal Clinic Fined For No Physio

A private orthopaedic clinic has been prosecuted and fined by the Healthcare Commission. The Peterborough based Orthopaedic and Spine Specialty Clinic was found guilty of breaching its conditions of registration as a healthcare provider. The case was heard on the 9th July 2008 at Peterborough Magistrates Court.

The hospital did not provide an inpatient physiotherapy service with a suitably qualified, skilled and experienced physiotherapist to manage patients who required post-operative physiotherapy.

After the clinic’s regular spinal physiotherapist walked out without notice in September 2006, there was no physiotherapy cover for the subsequent seven weeks. During this time ten spinal patients were taught exercises by the consultant and his nurses.

Alan Fuller, representing the Healthcare Commission, which brought the prosecution, said: "This is physiotherapy, and should have been done by a trained physiotherapist."

When the Healthcare Commission threatened to suspend the clinic’s operating license, a physiotherapist was found the next day.

In a statement, Nigel Ellis, Head of Investigations at the Healthcare Commission, said:

"As a regulator, our number one priority is the protection and safety of patients. That's why the Government requires those carrying out certain procedures to be registered with us, and to meet the requirements of their registration. Those establishments wishing to treat children or persons under the age of 18 must demonstrate that they have the infrastructure in place to meet the specific needs of those patients. It is also important that people undergoing orthopaedic surgery receive the right level of physiotherapy support. That is why when conditions were breached the Healthcare Commission took action against this hospital on behalf of the safety and welfare of patients."

The Healthcare Commission checks each registered provider in relation to a number of standards including the quality of their treatment and services and the safety and cleanliness of their premises and equipment. The Commission also looks at the qualifications and skills of their staff, their provision for training and professional development and their procedures for handling complaints.

This includes the recruitment, training and ongoing professional development of physiotherapists, the safety of provision of physiotherapy to patients and the standards of quality of physiotherapy treatment.

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