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Inspection carried out on 21 May 2019

During a routine inspection

Window to the Womb is operated by Judge Limited, and is located in Balby; a suburb of Doncaster, in the county of South Yorkshire. The service operates under a franchise agreement with Window to the Womb (Franchise) Ltd. The service is an independent healthcare provider offering antenatal ultrasound imaging and diagnostic services to self-funding or private patients over 16 years of age.

Window to the Womb (Doncaster) has separated their services into two clinics. These are comprised of a ‘Firstscan’ clinic, which specialises in early pregnancy scans (from six to 15 weeks of pregnancy), and a ‘Window to the Womb’ clinic, which offers later pregnancy scans (from 16 weeks of pregnancy).

We inspected the service using our comprehensive inspection methodology. We carried out a short-announced inspection on 21 May 2019; giving staff two working days’ notice. We had to conduct a short-announced inspection because the service was only open if patient demand required it.

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 fundamental standards.

Services we rate

We had not previously inspected this service. We rated it as Good overall.

We found the following areas of good practice:

  • The service made sure staff were competent for their roles. Staff had the right qualifications, skills, training and experience to keep people safe from harm and deliver effective care and treatment. There were established referral pathways to NHS antenatal care providers.

  • Staff understood how to protect patients from abuse and the service had systems to do so.

  • There were clear processes for staff to raise concerns and report incidents; and staff understood their roles and responsibilities. The service treated concerns and complaints seriously, and had systems to investigate them. Lessons learned were shared with the whole team and the wider service.

  • The environment was appropriate for the service being delivered, was patient centred, and was accessible to all women.

  • Staff cared for patients with kindness and compassion. We saw considerable evidence of positive feedback from women who had used the service.

  • Staff provided emotional support to patients to minimise their distress. Scan assistants acted as chaperones during ultrasound scans to ensure women felt comfortable and received optimum emotional support.

  • Staff understood the importance of obtaining informed consent, and involved patients and those close to them in decisions about their care and treatment. To help ensure good standards of communication, scan assistants periodically assessed sonographers for their quality of customer care and service, standard of communication, and overall customer experience.

  • Managers in the service and had the right skills and abilities to run a service providing high-quality sustainable care and promoted a positive culture.

  • The service was committed to improving services, had a vision for what it wanted to achieve, and engaged well with patients and staff to plan and manage services.

Ellen Armistead

Deputy Chief Inspector of Hospitals (North)