• Hospital
  • Independent hospital

The Harley Street Clinic

Overall: Outstanding read more about inspection ratings

35 Weymouth Street, London, W1G 8BJ (020) 7935 7700

Provided and run by:
HCA International Limited

All Inspections

24 & 25 January 2023

During a routine inspection

Our rating of this location ​stayed the same​. We rated it as ​outstanding​ because:

  • Staff treated patients with exceptional compassion and kindness, respected their privacy and dignity, and took account of their individual needs. People thought that staff went the extra mile and care and support exceeded their expectations. Staff empowered people who used the service to realise their potential. They provided emotional support to patients, families and carers to minimise their distress. They understood patients' personal, cultural and religious needs and made sure this was reflected in how care was delivered. Staff supported patients, families and carers to understand their condition and make decisions about their care and treatment. Consideration of people’s needs was consistently embedded in everything staff did. Patients told us they valued their relationships with staff.
  • There was an embedded system of leadership development and succession planning. The service had a vision for what it wanted to achieve and a strategy to turn it into action, developed with all relevant stakeholders. The vision and strategy had supporting plans and objectives which were innovative and achievable. Staff felt respected, supported and valued. They were focused on the needs of patients receiving care. The service promoted equality and diversity in its daily work, and opportunities for career development. The service had an open culture where patients, their families and staff could raise concerns without fear. Leaders operated effective governance processes, throughout the service and with partner organisations. Leaders and teams demonstrated commitment to best practice performance and risk management systems and processes. They identified and escalated relevant risks and issues and identified actions to reduce their impact effectively and in a timely manner. Leaders and staff actively and openly engaged with patients, staff, equality groups and local organisations to plan and manage services. They collaborated with partner organisations to help improve services for patients. All staff were committed to continually learning and improving services. They had a good understanding of quality improvement methods and the skills to use them. Leaders encouraged innovation and participation in research. Staff were actively participating in research and improvement projects.
  • The service had enough staff to care for patients and keep them safe. Staff had training in key skills, understood how to protect patients from abuse, and managed safety well. The service controlled infection risk well. Staff assessed risks to patients, acted on them and kept good care records. They managed medicines well. The service managed safety incidents well and learned lessons from them.
  • Staff provided a high level of care and treatment. Managers monitored the effectiveness of the service and made sure staff were competent. There was a strong, visible, patient centred culture. Staff worked well together for the benefit of patients, advised them on how to lead healthier lives, supported them to make decisions about their care, and had access to good information. Key services were available to support timely patient care.
  • The service planned care to meet the needs of local people, and took account of patients’ individual needs, and made it easy for people to give feedback. Patient individual needs and preferences were central to the delivery of tailored services. People accessed the service when they needed it and did not have to wait long for treatment.

3, 4, 5 and 17 August 2016

During a routine inspection

The Harley Street clinic is part of HCA International group, who also provide care at five other hospitals in London.

We carried out this inspection as part of the CQC's ongoing programme of comprehensive, independent healthcare acute hospital inspections under the new methodology.

The Harley Street Clinic undertakes a range of surgical procedures and provides medical and critical care, to adults. The hospital also provides services to children and young people, carries out outpatient consultations and provides critical care services to children. The hospital has the largest independent healthcare paediatric intensive care unit (PICU). The hospital therefore provides five of the eight core services that are inspected by the Care Quality Commission as part of its new approach to hospital inspection.

The Harley Street Clinic has 103 beds, four operating theatres, three catheter laboratories and six treatment rooms. The hospital provides 93 inpatient and ten day case beds. Specialities treated include oncology, cardiac and neurosciences for both adults and paediatrics. At the time of the inspection the hospital was not providing any NHS funded care.

We inspected the Harley Street Clinic as part of our planned inspection programme, visiting 3-5 August 2016 followed by an unannounced visit 17 August 2016. This was a comprehensive inspection and we looked at five core services provided by the hospital: medical care, surgery, critical care, services for children and young people and outpatients and diagnostic imaging.

We rated the safety, effectiveness and responsiveness of this hospital as good. We found the leadership and caring aspects of this hospital to be outstanding. Overall, we have rated The Harley Street Clinic as ‘outstanding’.

Are services safe at this hospital?

By safe, we mean that people are protected from abuse and avoidable harm.

  • There was a hospital wide electronic incident reporting system and staff were aware of how to report incidents. Staff reported incidents and openness about safety was encouraged. Incidents were monitored and reviewed and staff clearly demonstrated examples of learning from these. Senior management understood and adhered to the duty of candour appropriately.

  • Clinical areas were visibly clean and tidy. Hospital infection prevention and control practices were followed and these were regularly monitored, to reduce the risk of spread of infections.

  • Staff had access to a range appropriate equipment to care for patients safely. Equipment was safety tested and well maintained, in line with manufacturer’s guidance.

  • Medicines were stored securely and managed safely. Pharmacy staff were actively involved in the pre-admission, admission, inpatient and discharge processes.

  • Records were managed safely, securely stored on site and available when needed. The radiotherapy departmenthad implemented a fully paperless system of working. This system mitigates the paper based system risks and is also better for the environment. The department has assisted other independent and NHS departments in the implementing the system.

  • Staff were knowledgeable about the hospital’s safeguarding policy and clear about their responsibilities to report concerns.

  • Patients were appropriately risk assessed, their condition was monitored throughout their stay, and there were appropriate procedures and protocols for responding to any deteriorating condition.

  • We had concerns that staffing in the paediatric intensive care unit (PICU) did not meet Royal College of Nursing (RCN) guidance, as the majority of nurses were not trained specifically in paediatrics. In all other areas, staffing levels and skill mix were planned, implemented and reviewed to ensure patients received safe care and treatment at all times.

  • Staff received appropriate training to perform their role safely and were supported to keep their skills up to date.

  • Plans and arrangements were in place to respond to emergency situations.

Are services effective at this hospital?

By effective, we mean that people’s care, treatment and support achieves good outcomes, promotes a good quality of life and is based on the best available evidence.

  • Patients care and treatment was planned and delivered in line with current best practice, evidence based guidance and legislation. Performance was monitored and improved in line with national guidance from organisations such as the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) and the Royal Colleges.

  • Patients’ pain was monitored and the effectiveness of pain management evaluated. Patients had access to different methods of pain relief.

  • The hospital offered a range of meals and drinks and hospitality team were always available. Patients had comprehensive assessments of their needs, which included assessment of their clinical needs, physical health, nutrition and hydration needs.

  • Oncology patient outcomes were monitored at cancer multi-disciplinary (MDT) meetings

  • The hospital surgery participated in a range of national audits and benchmarking, including: the Public Health England (PHE) surgical site surveillance for benchmarking for coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) and total abdominal hysterectomy (TAH). We found the hospital had performed better than the national average for CABG. For example, the PHE SSI audit from April 2015 to March 2016 indicated that there had been 0% infections compared to the five year average for all hospitals of 4.3%.

  • The Adult intensive care unit (AITU) contributed to the Intensive Care National Audit Research Centre (ICNARC), which meant that the outcomes of care delivered and patient mortality could be benchmarked against similar units nationwide. The hospital performed better than similar units in unplanned readmissions and non-clinical transfers out of the unit in 2015/16.

  • The National Congenital Heart Disease Audit Report 2012 -15 demonstrated the hospital had a 98.8% survival rate for patients admitted with this condition. This was better than the expected predicted survival rate of 97.3%.

  • The hospital published the Breast Quality Framework Report; containing outcome data collected as a retrospective audit of breast cancer patients treated in the period of 2010 to 2014. The hospital is working collaboratively with Public Health England to collate and publish patient survival rates.

  • Consultants were granted practicing privileges after a lengthy application process supported and verified by the medical advisory committee (MAC). Those privileges were then reviewed once a year. The MAC also reviewed policies and guidance and advised on effective care and treatment.

  • There was good communication between the MAC and hospital medical directors and this was maintained through coordinated consultant engagement.

  • Practice facilitators and educators ensured that nursing staff were supported through the revalidation process.

  • Staff worked well within teams and across different services to plan and deliver patients' care and treatment in a coordinated way.

  • The consent process for patients was well structured, audited and reviewed to improve how people are involved in making decisions about their care and treatment.

  • Staff were trained in the Mental Capacity Act (MCA) 2005 and Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLs), although rarely used as the vast majority of patients treated had capacity to give their informed consent.

Are services caring at this hospital?

By caring, we mean that staff involve and treat patients with compassion, dignity and respect.

  • Staff were highly motivated and inspired to offer care that was kind and promoted people’s dignity and were willing to go the extra mile to meet individuals’ needs. We saw incidences of staff changing their shifts or working additional shifts in order to offer anxious patients continuity of care. We saw examples of pro-bono patient care to accommodate individual needs.

  • Staff always took people’s personal, cultural, social and religious needs into account. For example, care plans for patients observing Shabbat included instructions on how staff could support them to avoid use of technology such as call bells by increasing the frequency of checks. We saw examples of ‘weddings’ that had been organised on the ward to accommodate immobile patients’ last wishes and hosting an event so one patient could fulfil their role as 'mother of the bride' at their daughter's wedding.

  • People’s emotional and social needs were highly valued by staff and are embedded in their care and treatment. For example, the ‘rainbow beads’ project provided an opportunity to recognise the courage and strength of children and young people who were accessing the hospital for long term treatments. Children and young people were rewarded with a bead for each treatment or intervention.We saw examples of patients supported to have visits from loved pets.

  • Patients understood the care and treatment choices available to them and were given appropriate information and support regarding their care and treatment.

  • The hospital used patient feedback to ensure they were addressing patients’ needs.

Are services responsive at this hospital?

By responsive we mean that services are organised so they meet people’s needs.

  • The complex and differing needs of patients were central to the planning and delivery of the tailored service that the hospital provided. Pre-assessment nurses pro-actively provided individual patient-centred care before admission and after discharge.

  • The provider approached care and treatment for their patients in a truly holistic and individualised way. We found excellent multidisciplinary team (MDT) working with close collaboration between all staff. National experts in their field with access to latest diagnostic and treatment methods attended regular MDT meetings. We saw the multidisciplinary team working together to provide the best care available and working to ensure all needs of patients were met.

  • Patient admissions were arranged in a timely manner, with minimal delays. The outpatient service ensured that waiting times were kept at a minimum.

  • There were allocated appointment slots for patients that wanted same day diagnostic procedures.

  • All radiological imaging results were available within 24 hours or earlier if requested.

  • There were facilities in place and readily available for patients from different cultural backgrounds and for whom their first language was not English.

  • The hospital did not treat many patients with dementia or complex mental health needs but staff were aware of who to escalate concerns to regarding these patients.

  • Complaints were dealt with by the CNO and CEO and the service ensured that complaint responses were timely and well managed.

  • Learning from complaints was assessed and shared with staff via both email and monthly ward meetings.

Are services well led at this hospital?

By well-led, we mean that the leadership, management and governance of the organisation, assure the delivery of high-quality person-centred care, supports learning and innovation, and promotes an open and fair culture.

  • We found approachable and motivational leadership that promoted staff development and career progression, teamwork and high-quality patient-centred care.

  • Staff were aware of the corporate vision and all staff were aware of their unit vision and strategy. The vision and strategy of the service was embedded into practice by staff.

  • The corporate governance structure ensured that there was a vast amount of cross over in-between key groups.

  • The governance team had hired new members of staff to maintain the risk register and oversee other areas. The handover process was sound and the reporting mechanisms in place were of a high quality.

  • Service managers had monthly meetings with the CEO where issues were actively discussed and best practice was encouraged to be implemented. Staff felt they could engage with the CEO and felt they managers could raise issues on their behalf and they would be listened to.

  • All staff were able to name the CEO and reported that the senior management team were visible and accessible. Staff felt as though there was an open ‘family’-like culture.

  • We saw new leaders and managers in the paediatric services who were driving forward change to improve staff development and patient care. We saw and heard about the improvements to the working culture and how staff satisfaction had improved. New ways of working had been introduced to promote safe and effective patient care.

  • A “Nurse in charge” work initiative was in place in the outpatients department specifically tailored to encourage junior staff nurses to develop leadership skills. This initiative contributed to the five new outpatient senior nurse roles and has allowed the department to promote internally.

  • There were world class, first of their kind innovations taking place at the hospital and staff were proud to say they worked there.

  • The radiotherapy department in collaboration with a London NHS trust has lead a unique scalp sparing technique study. The study is aimed at improving the quality of life of patients requiring whole brain radiotherapy treatment, by trying to remove the side effect of hair loss at such an emotional time in the patient’s life. The study was the winner of the LangBuisson 2015 award for Innovation in Care.

  • The cancer service offered innovative patient-centred care through access to latest diagnostic and therapeutic methods and by seeking out new treatment options and taking a holistic approach to patient care. This high quality care included psychological support and complementary therapies such as relaxation or aromatherapy for example. Patients were given access to early phase clinical trials for new cancer drugs through partnership with a cancer research institute.

However, there were also areas where the provider needs to make improvements.

Importantly, the hospital must make the following improvements:

  • The provider must take action to ensure the skill mix of staff in the paediatric intensive care reflects current recommendations.

In addition the hospital should:

  • Ensure that the multi-faith rooms are appropriate to meet patients’ spiritual needs.

  • Provide more adequate storage space in theatres.

  • Ensure that the theatre doors fully close and do not overlap one another.

  • Ensure all staff that have contact with patients under the age of 18 are trained to a minimum of level 3 safeguarding training.

  • Ensure all staff are up to date with mandatory training requirements.

  •    Ensure all department risk registers reflect the current risks to their service.

Professor Sir Mike Richards

Chief Inspector of Hospitals

17,18,19, 25 February, 06 May 2015

During a routine inspection

The Harley Street Clinic is a 110 bedded private hospital, based in Harley Street, London. The Harley Street Clinic is part of HCA International group who have five other hospitals in London.

The hospital undertakes a range of surgical procedures, provides medical and critical care, children and young people services and also carries out outpatient consultations. These are five of the eight core services that are always inspected by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) as part of its new approach to hospital inspection.

The hospital has four operating theatres, 97 consultation rooms, six treatment rooms, 96 inpatient and 14 day case beds all with en-suite facilities.

The hospital provides care to patients from birth. The majority of adult patients are from London and the South East. Over 50% of children seen or receiving treatment at the hospital are from overseas.

At the time of the inspection the hospital was not providing any NHS funded care. The hospital was selected for inspection as an example of a medium size independent hospital in our wave 2 pilot.

Our key findings were as follows:


  • There was an electronic incident reporting system that staff were aware of and incidents were investigated and findings were fed back to staff to promote and encouraging learning.
  • Medicines were stored securely to ensure that unauthorised personel did not have access to them. However, the processes for amending prescriptions when medical staff were not present on some wards was not in line with national guidance.
  • The principles of the ‘Five steps to safer surgery’ checklist was embedded into practice and the surgical safety checklist paperwork was completed.
  • There were sufficient, appropriately trained staff to meet patient’s individual needs.
  • There was an effective early warning system in place in monitor patients conditions and to identify patients at risk of deterioration to facilitate a timely and appropriate response.
  • Patient records were legible and the majority of patients were seen daily by the nominated consultant who was available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • Mandatory training compliance was reviewed by core service and the percentages were as follows: Medical Care 77%; Surgery 74%; Services for children and young people 84%; Critical care 89%; Outpatients 76% Diagnostic imaging 81%.


  • Staff were encouraged and supported with their continual professional development and all staff had received an annual appraisal.
  • There was effective communication between all staff involved in patients' care and treatment and we observed examples of multidisciplinary team involvement.
  • There were processes in place for reviewing clinical and non-clinical policies. However not all policies we reviewed were up to date.
  • Care pathways were evidence based in line with national guidance from NICE and the Royal Colleges.
  • Patients had access to most services 24 hours a day, seven days.


  • Staff treated patients and their relatives with respect and compassion. Patients were positive about their care and treatment and said staff were professional and kind.
  • Patients felt supported and involved in decisions about their care and treatment. The majority of responses to the provider's patient satisfaction survey were positive.


  • Patient admissions were arranged in a timely manner with minimal delays for patients and their individual needs were met.
  • Patients had access to information about the service and their treatment. There were interpreter services available in the hospital as required.
  • Complaints were responded to within the appropriate timescales and there was identified learning and changes to practice.
  • There was cooperation across the hospital and divisions to ensure patients received appropriate care and treatment.


  • There was no documented vision and clinical strategy to support innovation and growth of the services that had been shared with all staff.
  • Staff reported that the senior management team were visible and accessible; department managers were supportive and approachable. Staff felt there was an open culture which was encouraged by the management team.
  • Middle managers and senior staff were aware of the priorities for their service areas and departments and shared the hospital and corporate vision.
  • There were governance structures and reporting mechanism in place where performance and the quality of the service was discussed. The hospital risk register documented risks and assigned a manager responsible although date of entry or a review date and some environmental risks lacked detail.

We saw good practice including:

  • The electronic national early warning score (NEWS) to identify deteriorating patients by monitoring patient observations automatically calculated the level of risk.When a certain level was reached, the registered medical officer (RMO) on call was automatically informed and reviewed the patient.
  • The falls programme including the introduction of a falls assessment tool to identify patients at risk and posters to remind staff of the nine key points to consider. Staff considered the environment, access to call bells and patient foot wear. There were signs in patient rooms to remind them to call for assistance stating ‘call don’t fall’ and staff believed these initiatives were having an impact on the number of falls.
  • Staff were caring and compassionate and focused on meeting individual patient needs.
  • The multidisciplinary team (MDT) meeting discussed complex care and the management plans for cancer patients requiring surgery and a range of other treatments. An electronic record of the meeting was completed in real time providing a clear and accessible plan of care.
  • Physiotherapists worked within the multi disciplinary team.They had full access patients’ records and were able to inform treatment decisions made by patients and doctors. Each patient had individual outcome goals agreed and these were recorded in their notes. They were provided with a written discharge summary.
  • There was a Macmillan’s cancer information and support service available at the hospital from Monday to Friday. Patients diagnosed with cancer could find out what to expect and receive additional information, practical advice and support from qualified nurses.
  • International multidisciplinary meetings were held for patients who came for treatment from abroad. These meetings involved their UK consultant and lead clinicians from the country of origin to ensure continuity of treatment.

However, there were also areas of poor practice where the hospital needs to make improvements.

Importantly, the hospital must make the following improvements:

  • The hospital must ensure all policies reflect the latest national and professional guidance.
  • Ensure all intravenous fluids are stored in locked cupboards to prevent unauthorised access.
  • The hospital must ensure that the process for amending medication prescriptions out of hours when the consultant is not present is in line with national professional guidance.
  • The hospital must ensure that there is evidence that the vaccinations are consistently stored at the recommended temperature and fridges used to store vaccines are appropriately monitored and maintained.

In addition the hospital should:

  • Ensure that the process in place for contacting consultant in unplanned situations should be explicit.
  • Implement effective systems to monitor, review all patient deaths with independent input and share the learning from these reviews with staff.
  • The critical care unit should implement a periodic multi-disciplinary team meeting to review unit performance, governance and review patient outcome data to identify potential improvements in the service.
  • The hospital should review the need for dedicated support for ICNARC data collection and submission to ensure the data submission is timely.
  • The hospital should ensure that there is a written plan including timescales for the replacement of the lift and all staff are aware of the actions being taken to mitigate the risks prior to the completion of this work.
  • The hospital should ensure that all staff have completed the appropriate level of safeguarding training.
  • The pre-operative checklist including theatre handover sheet used by nurses prior to taking children to theatre should be completed and used in all cases.
  • The hospital should ensure the needs of patients with learning disabilities are assessed and met.

Professor Sir Mike Richards

Chief Inspector of Hospitals

17 February 2015

During an inspection of this service

26 November 2013

During a routine inspection

The inspection focused on cancer services provided by The Harley Street Clinic. As some adult cancer services were sub-contracted to other registered providers we did not visit these as they are inspected separately by the Care Quality Commission. During this inspection we visited the Diagnostic Centre, the oncology ward and the paediatric chemotherapy day unit. We spoke with 17 staff, including nurses, ward managers, pharmacists and senior management. We also spoke with the three people and/ or their relatives who were available during our inspection and looked at the October 2013 feedback survey results. People were positive about the care and treatment they had received, rating the quality of care as "very good" or "excellent".

People received safe, effective care that was planned in a way that ensured their safety and welfare. Peoples' needs were assessed and reviewed by a multi-disciplinary team. Information was provided in a format that met people's needs to ensure they understood and were able to make decisions. There were arrangements in place to deal with medical emergencies. Treatment protocols and procedures reflected national guidelines and medications were safely administered. Medicines were stored securely in most areas.

People were cared for by suitably qualified staff who had undergone the necessary pre-employment checks. There were systems in place to monitor the quality of service provided and to benchmark its performance nationally.

7 November 2012

During a routine inspection

This inspection focused on the paediatric services provided at The Harley Street Clinic. We visited the new paediatric intensive care unit (PICU), the paediatric ward and the paediatric outpatient facilities. We spoke with some parents of children who were being treated at the hospital. Overall, they were very satisfied with the quality of care provided. They confirmed that staff had explained their child's treatment in a way that they could understand and they had consented to their child's treatment. We saw consent had been obtained for each procedure undertaken. Consent forms had been signed by the relevant consultant and person with parental responsibility.

There were systems in place to protect people from the risk of infection. There were adequate handwashing facilities available and cleaners were allocated to each area of the hospital. We saw that infection control audits were regularly undertaken. Staff were able to describe the process should if someone had an infection.

There were a sufficient number of suitably skilled staff on each unit. The provider had risk assessed the needs of the people who use the service and the risks associated with the procedures carried out to determine the number of staff required. There were systems in place to plan staff numbers to meet the needs of patients.

The provider had systems to monitor the quality of the service it provided and we saw evidence that complaints were fully investigated.

20 July 2011

During a routine inspection

People who used the service told us that they were generally happy with the care they had received. Staff had been supportive, treated them with respect and involved them in their care. The majority of people felt they were kept informed and given enough information to make decisions.