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Princess Royal MRI Unit Good

Inspection Summary

Overall summary & rating


Updated 29 March 2019

Princess Royal MRI Unit is operated by Alliance Medical Limited. The service provides magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) (an X-ray scanner that uses two different X-ray energies to measure bone mineral density) scanning for Princess Royal Hospital as part of a contract with Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust. Princess Royal MRI Unit registered with CQC in April 2016 and has not been inspected before.

We inspected this service using our comprehensive inspection methodology. We carried out an unannounced visit to the service on 13 February 2019.

We rated it as Good overall.

Our key findings were as follows

  • There was evidence of investigation, learning and dissemination of learning from incidents within the Alliance Medical Limited organisation.

  • Equipment was well maintained and tested annually or in accordance with manufacturer’s guidelines.

  • Staff demonstrated a kind and caring approach to patients, supported their emotional needs and provided reassurance. We observed staff providing care in a compassionate and respectful manner. Staff ensured patients understood the procedures, answered questions and obtained consent before providing care.

  • The service provided care and treatment based on national guidance and evidence of its effectiveness.

  • The service offered people appointment times to reflect their needs and preferences, for example if they had limited mobility.

  • The unit manager ran an audit programme to monitor the effectiveness of care, procedures and policies. Staff used the findings to improve the service. They carried out a monthly image quality audit to evaluate images and techniques to improve image quality.

  • The service made sure staff were competent for their roles. There were systems to check staff professional registration, appraise their work and provide support.

  • The service leaders had a sound understanding of their risks and challenges. These were reflected on the local risk register and reported to reported to the regional director and liaised with the central quality and risk team.

  • Staff described a visible and approachable local leadership team and told us they were able to raise concerns and report incidents.


  • Access to the MRI units were not always well restricted. In the static unit there was no lockable door separating the waiting room from the controlled area of the three tesla (3T) scanner. This created a risk to patients and/or visitors with implanted devices such as a pacemaker if they crossed the threshold without being screened.

  • The DXA room had a carpeted floor, which did not meet the requirements of Health Building Notice (HBN) 00-09: Infection control in the built environment.

  • Contrast media was not always recorded in ward patient records of care, in line with best practice.

Dr Nigel Acheson

Deputy Chief Inspector of Hospitals

Inspection areas



Updated 29 March 2019

We rated it as Good because:

  • The service provided mandatory training in key skills to all staff and made sure everyone completed it.

  • Staff understood how to protect patients from abuse. Staff had training on how to recognise and report abuse and they knew how to apply it.

  • Patients’ individual care records were generally written and managed in a way that kept people safe. Records seen were accurate, complete, legible, and up-to-date.

  • The service had enough staff with the right qualifications, skills, training and experience to keep people safe from avoidable harm and to provide the right care and treatment.


Updated 29 March 2019

We did not rate effective for this service, however we found that:

  • Managers monitored the effectiveness of care and treatment and used the findings to improve them.

  • The service monitored the effectiveness of care, polices and procedures and used the findings to improve the service.

  • Staff understood how and when to assess whether a patient had the capacity to make decisions about their care.

  • Policies and procedures were in date. Staff had access to dual policies used by both the host trust’s imaging department and the service. The unit manager encouraged and monitored the uptake of new policies ensuring all staff were up to date with the latest guidance.



Updated 29 March 2019

We rated it as Good because:

  • Patients spoke positively about the service and we observed staff treating in accordance with the service’s dignity and respect policy.

  • We observed staff providing patients with constant reassurance throughout their scan and ensured that patients were comfortable throughout the procedure.

  • Staff involved patients and those close to them in decisions about their care and treatments. Patients where provided with information in a format that suited their needs.



Updated 29 March 2019

We rated it as Good because:

  • The service ensured there were appointments available to meet the needs of the patients.

  • Interpretation services were available for patients whose first language was not English.

  • The service was accessible to patients with limited mobility. There was sufficient space to manoeuvre a wheel chair and equipment to transfer patients safely.

  • The service generally ran on time and when delays occurred, patients were kept informed.

  • The unit manager was aware of risks to the service. There were systems to manage new and existing risks.



Updated 29 March 2019

We rated it as Good because:

  • The service leaders had the right skills and abilities to run a service providing sustainable care.

  • Staff understood the service’s vision and how their work contributed to achieving this.

  • All staff we spoke with told us they felt respected and valued.

  • The service collected, analysed, managed, and used information well to support its activities.

  • The unit manager was aware of risks to the service. There were systems to manage new and existing risks.

  • Princess Royal MRI Unit was committed to improving services by learning, promoting training and innovation.

Checks on specific services

Diagnostic imaging


Updated 29 March 2019

We rated this service good because it was safe, caring, responsive and well led. We do not rate effective for this type of service.