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Optimax Laser Eye Clinics - Newcastle

Inspection Summary

Overall summary & rating

Updated 22 February 2018

Optimax Laser Eye Clinics - Newcastle is operated by Optimax Clinics Limited.

The Newcastle clinic is situated near to the Tyne Bridge in Newcastle city centre. The Newcastle clinic was opened in 1996 for the purpose of assessing for, and treatment of, laser refractive eye surgery for patients aged 18 and over.

The clinic facility is situated on the ground floor of a listed building accessed by some stairs from the main street. Facilities include a large open plan reception and seating area, two consultation rooms, an eye testing room (topography room), a private counselling area, a preparation area, a recovery room and the laser room. There is no private parking facility.

For patients requiring assistance to enter the facility, staff provided an access ramp. There were no designated disabled toilet facilities. The facility provided a hearing loop and free hot and cold drinks.

The service provided laser refractive eye surgery and follow-up care following procedures at other Optimax facilities. If a patient required specialist care or surgery not provided at the facility, patients were duly referred to another clinic.

We inspected the laser refractive eye surgery service using our comprehensive inspection methodology. We carried out the announced part of the inspection on 26 October 2017 along with an unannounced visit to the location on 10 November 2017.

We spoke to six members of staff including the medical director/surgeon, the clinic manager, the clinic supervisor, the optometrist, the laser room assistant and administrative staff. We reviewed five sets of patient records (paper and electronic) and spoke to five patients. We observed the care pathway from initial enquiry, pre-consultation, eye examinations, surgical assessment, the laser procedure and aftercare.

To get to the heart of patients experiences of care and treatment, we ask the same five questions of all services: are they safe, effective, caring, responsive to people's needs, and well-led? Where we have a legal duty to do so, we rate services performance against each key question as outstanding, good, requires improvement or inadequate.

Services we do not rate

We regulate refractive eye surgery services but we do not currently have a legal duty to rate them. We highlight good practice and issues that service providers need to improve and take regulatory action as necessary.

We found the following areas of good practice:

  • There was a caring and compassionate patient-centred culture at the Newcastle clinic.
  • Services were safe and ensured patients were protected from avoidable harm.
  • Care and treatment received by patients was provided by competent staff following national guidance and professional standards.
  • Patient outcomes were good and this was reinforced by very positive patient feedback.
  • Patients were informed, empowered and understood treatment options available to them along with potential risks and intended benefits of chosen procedures.
  • Local leadership and management was effective and there was a strong collaborative team working approach to service provision at the Newcastle clinic.

However, we also found the following issues that the provider needs to improve:

  • Medicine training with particular attention to the management of cytotoxic medicines and dispensing requirements.
  • Extended role training procedures to ensure those staff remained competent and up to date with best practice and professional guidelines.
  • Access for persons living with a disability whilst keeping within the restrictions applied by the listed building status.
  • Governance and assurance processes around risk registers.
  • Governance and assurance processes around the updating of Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks.

Following this inspection, we told the provider that it should make other improvements, even though a regulation had not been breached, to help the service improve. Details are at the end of the report.

Ellen Armistead

Deputy Chief Inspector of Hospitals

Inspection areas


Updated 22 February 2018


Updated 22 February 2018


Updated 22 February 2018


Updated 22 February 2018


Updated 22 February 2018

Checks on specific services

Refractive eye surgery

Updated 22 February 2018

We regulate this service but we do not currently have a legal duty to rate it. We highlight good practice and issues that service providers need to improve and take regulatory action as necessary.