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Archived: National Slimming Centre (Northampton)

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All reports

Inspection report

Date of Inspection: 20 March 2012
Date of Publication: 29 June 2012
Inspection Report published 29 June 2012 PDF

Before people are given any examination, care, treatment or support, they should be asked if they agree to it (outcome 2)

Not met this standard

We checked that people who use this service

  • Where they are able, give valid consent to the examination, care, treatment and support they receive.
  • Understand and know how to change any decisions about examination, care, treatment and support that has been previously agreed.
  • Can be confident that their human rights are respected and taken into account.

How this check was done

Our judgement

People were provided with information about the treatment programme but people did not always understand the information available.

User experience

People we spoke with said they had sufficient information to make an informed choice about choosing a medicines regime to help with their weight loss. People told us they had discussed their medical history, diet and exercise with the doctor during their initial consultation at the clinic. They said the doctor had discussed fully the options available to them in terms of their treatment. They told us staff had explained to them the possible side effects of the medication.

One person who had been attending the clinic for more than two years said that she understood that the medication was not a “slimming tablet” but was a “slimming aid” to use with a healthy diet and exercise. She said that it had also been explained to her that she had to have regular breaks from the medication which she did. However, she said that the appointments with the doctor were often rushed and the doctors did not have time to explain what they were writing in their notes.

Before a medicine can be prescribed or sold in the UK, a medicine must be licensed by the medicines regulatory agency (MHRA). Doctors sometimes prescribe unlicensed medicines, which are obtained as “specials” through a manufacturer. Guarantees of effectiveness and safety are not the same as with licensed medicines and doctors should inform patients that this is the case.

When people had their first consultation at the clinic, they were shown an advice sheet to explain what “special” medication was. We spoke with three people who had all been prescribed medication for weight loss. We asked them if they understood that some of their prescribed drugs were “special” medication. None of the people knew what this meant as they had not understood the advice sheet. This meant that people were not fully informed of the risks of the medicines.

Other evidence

We spoke with a doctor working at the centre. She said that she explained to people that the medication she prescribed was either “licensed” or “special” medication. She showed us an advice sheet on her desk and said that she would ask the client to read the explanation on the sheet and reassured them that it was not illegal. The doctor said she told patients how the medication worked and its potential side effects. Patient information leaflets were given to people by staff once medication had been prescribed. We discussed the advice sheet about “special” medication with the manager who said that the wording had been agreed at the head office for all centres to use.

We looked at 15 people’s treatment records. All the records had a completed medical history, and people had signed to consent to treatment. People signed to say whether they consented to their GP being informed of their treatment. People were given a letter to give to their GP to explain the medication they had been prescribed. People had signed their medical card to say that they consented to treatment but they did not sign to show that they understood the meaning of “special” medication.