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Optimax Laser Eye Clinics - Maidstone


Inspection carried out on 1st July 2015

During a routine inspection

We inspected Optimax Maidstone on the 1st July 2015. This was a pilot comprehensive inspection to test our new methodology for inspecting specialist refractive eye surgery services. Therefore we did not rate this service. 

Optimax Maidstone is part of Optimax Clinics Limited, a large company established in 1991 which specialises in private laser eye and lens replacement surgery with facilities nation-wide. The clinic offered a wide variety of laser and non-laser vision correction treatments, such as laser assisted in situ keratomileusis (LASIK), laser epithelial keratomileusis (LASEK), refractive lens exchange (RLE), and implantable contact lens procedures on a private basis. The clinic did not treat children.

We found that services at the clinic protected patients from avoidable harm and there were systems to report and learn from incidents that were well understood by the staff we spoke with. There were systems to manage the risks associated with laser use. There were arrangements to prevent infection, although systems in relation to water safety were insufficiently robust. Staff knowledge of understanding the risks of adults in vulnerable circumstances needed improvement.

Patients experienced good clinical outcomes because they received effective care and treatment that met their needs and was in line with national guidance. There were arrangements to ensure that patients gave valid consent prior to their treatment. 

Patients were supported, treated with dignity and respect and were involved as partners in their care. Staff ensured that patients and those close to them received adequate psychological support.

Services were organised and delivered to meet patients individual needs and circumstances and were designed to be convenient and flexible. Patients were provided with literature with comprehensive information about their care and treatment, which was supplemented by face-to-face consultations.

There were arrangements to ensure the needs of those with physical difficulties could be met and the environment was pleasant and appropriate for the service delivered.

Patients complaints were treated seriously, they were investigated, actions were taken and people received appropriate responses.

The leadership, governance and culture promoted the delivery of safe and effective care.

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

The provider should:

  • Ensure its complaints responses meet CQC guidance in relation to informing patients how to escalate concerns if they are unsatisfied with a response.
  • Ensure staff have a clear understanding of safeguarding adults in vulnerable circumstances and assessment of mental capacity in the context of a refractive eye surgery clinic.
  • Ensure there is an effective system for monitoring water safety which meets national guidance. 
  • Ensure that medical gases are stored appropriately.
  • Review its water quality testing in order to meet corporate policy requirements.
  • Review its storage to ensure there are no further instances of medical gases being stored alongside combustible materials.

Professor Sir Mike Richards

Chief Inspector of Hospitals

Inspection carried out on 6, 10 February 2014

During a routine inspection

During this inspection we spoke with the manager, counsellors and two people who used the service.

People spoke with us about the care and treatment they received. They told us that they liked the clinic and had been, "Treated exceptionally well" and that the staff "From the receptionist right through to the surgeon, were all so lovely. They were very good at explaining everything and they are the most polite, caring and friendly people. I have recommended the clinic and treatment to other people". They told us they were always included in discussions about their treatment and were always clear about the cost of treatment.

During the inspection we spoke with staff and looked at patient records, staff records, policies and procedures. Staff we spoke with told us that they enjoyed working at the service.

We found that the clinic provided a clean environment for treating patients and equipment used was satisfactorily maintained.

Staff recruitment was satisfactory and personnel files contained all the required documented evidence to support this.

Quality monitoring processes were in place and ensured that the clinic was continually evaluating services provided and the outcomes for people who used the service.

Inspection carried out on 27 February 2013

During a routine inspection

People were given all the information they needed to make an informed decision about their treatment, and were asked to sign to indicate their consent to such treatment. We saw treatment was not undertaken until a full ophthalmic examination and assessment had been conducted and medical history taken. The benefits and risks of treatment were explained, as were the treatment options.

We spoke with one person that was using the service. They told us that they had been provided with information about their treatment options and had been told about the surgery including the benefits, possible risks and the aftercare treatment. Comments included "I know exactly what to expect as they have explained it all to me".

Staff at the clinic, were given regular training and were given a professional appraisal of their work every year.

A complaints system was in place that encouraged patient feedback which was recognised as being important for improving the service. Complaints were taken seriously and responded to appropriately.

People were positive about the treatment received at Optimax Laser Eye Clinic Maidstone. Comments seen included �Wonderful care by all staff�, �Thank you for making me feel so comfortable and at ease�, Friendly staff, great day�, and �Fantastic a brilliant result and fabulous service from everyone at Maidstone�.