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Inspection carried out on 7 August 2019

During a routine inspection

Somerset MRI Centre is operated by Alliance Medical Limited.

The centre provides magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) services on an outpatient basis for patients from the age of 17 onwards. Facilities include an MRI scanner and associated control room, two changing rooms, a disabled toilet, an administration area, a reception desk and a waiting area.

We inspected the service under our independent single speciality diagnostic imaging framework, using our comprehensive inspection methodology. We carried out an announced inspection on 7 August 2019.

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.

Throughout the inspection, we took account of what people told us and how the provider understood and complied with the Mental Capacity Act 2005.

We rated it as Good overall.

Our key findings were:

  • There were sufficient numbers of staff to care for patients and keep them safe and this was reviewed and safely managed.
  • Staff had training in key skills, understood how to protect patients from abuse, and managed safety well.
  • The service controlled infection risk well. Equipment was regularly serviced, cleaned and staff conducted daily quality assurance checks.
  • Staff assessed risks to patients, acted on them and kept good care records.
  • The service managed safety incidents well and learned lessons from them. Staff recognised incidents and reported them for investigations. Learning from incidents was shared within the team and across the organisation to improve the service.
  • Policies and procedures were up to date and reflected best practice and national guidance.
  • Staff provided good care and treatment. Managers monitored the effectiveness of the service and made sure staff were competent. Staff supported them to make decisions about their care and had access to good information.
  • Staff treated patients with compassion and kindness, respected their privacy and dignity, took account of their individual needs, and helped them understand their conditions. They provided emotional support to patients, families and carers.
  • The service planned care to meet the needs of local people, took account of patients’ individual needs, and made it easy for people to give feedback. People could access the service when they needed it and did not have to wait too long for treatment.
  • The service had effective systems for identifying and managing risks.
  • Leaders ran services well using reliable information systems and supported staff to develop their skills. Staff understood the service’s vision and values, and how to apply them in their work.
  • There was a strong and supportive culture among the staff. They felt respected, supported and valued. They were focused on the needs of patients receiving care. Staff were clear about their roles and accountabilities.
  • The service engaged well with patients and the community to plan and manage services. The views and experience of patients and staff were gathered and acted on to improve the service and culture.
  • Senior leaders and staff were striving for continuous learning, service improvement and innovation.

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

  • The service should improve attention to detail in completing the six-point checklist to ensure the patient was correctly identified before the scan.
  • The service should improve attention to detail in completing accurate timings of a patient’s arrival in the scanning room and their departure following their appointment.
  • The service should strengthen some of the team’s knowledge of magnetic resonance safety principles and the implications of safety applications.
  • The service should follow best practice by using the interpretation service for patients whose first language was not English.

Following this inspection, we told the provider that it should make improvements, even though a regulation had not been breached, to help the service improve.

Nigel Acheson, Deputy Chief Inspector of Hospitals (South and London)

Inspection carried out on 5 November 2013

During a routine inspection

We spoke with four people who had received an MRI scan on the day of our inspection. We also spoke with the office manager, office administrator and one of the radiographers. We checked MRI scan records and other documents relevant to the management of the service.

People told us they were very happy with the service provided. One person said �They are absolutely brilliant. I rate them 10 out of 10�. Another patient said �I�ve been treated wonderfully. They gave me all the information I needed over the phone and were very quick at seeing me�. People said staff reassured them throughout their MRI scan appointment.

We found the design, layout and security of the building was appropriate for its purpose. The premises were accessible and all areas inspected were clean and uncluttered. There were suitable toilet and changing facilities for patient use. There were policies and procedures in place for contingencies such as fire, accidents and utility failures.

There were records showing regular servicing, maintenance and repair of essential plant and equipment. This meant people were protected from unsafe or unsuitable equipment.

People were complimentary about the staff. One person said �They are very personable and explained everything clearly and simply. They made me feel at ease�. We observed staff were courteous, competent and professional.

We saw records were accurate and fit for purpose. Records were stored and disposed of securely.

Inspection carried out on 22 January 2013

During a routine inspection

We saw at the reception desk there were information leaflets about a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scan for people or relatives to read while they were waiting. We observed there was a language poster displayed on the wall for people whose first language was not English.

We spoke with three people who had received an MRI scan on the day of our inspection. They all told us the staff had treated them with dignity and respect and they were very kind and helpful to them. They also told us staff had provided them with all the relevant information to help them understand what was happening throughout the procedure.

The people we spoke with told us they were put at ease and reassured by the staff who communicated with them throughout the scan. We observed this in practice. One person told us the staff were "very friendly, concerned and made sure I was happy throughout the process."

People were very complimentary about the staff. Their comments included "The staff are really friendly", "they were very helpful in making an appointment to suit me", "They are excellent" and "I have nothing to complain about."