19 November 2010
The company that ran The Causeway Retreat, an unregistered private hospital on an island off the Essex coast, has been successfully prosecuted by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
District Judge Cooper, sitting at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court today (19 November), fined the company a total of £8,000 and awarded £30,000 costs to CQC, the regulator of health and adult social care services.
Twenty 7 Management Ltd, of Hayes, Middlesex, pleaded guilty to two charges of carrying on an unregistered service in breach of Section 11 of the Care Standards Act 2000, in relation to The Causeway Retreat, on Osea Island, in the Blackwater Estuary, and a clinic providing mental health and other services at The Point, Colchester. The company was fined £4,000 for each offence.
The sole directors and shareholders of the company are Brendan Quinn and his wife, Lisa Cross.
The commission did not pursue separate charges against Mr Quinn of carrying on the unregistered services in his own name and, under Section 30 of the Act, of consenting to or conniving with the Section 11 offences committed by his company.
District Judge Cooper said: "CQC has not always been recognised for the essential work it does, and this should be widely recognised now, or this atrocious organisation would still be able to operate as it did." He said the company had been “scandalously negligent, if not downright misleading and fraudulent”, and its standards would shame a Third World country.
After the hearing, Frances Carey, CQC’s East Region director, said: “We are extremely pleased that Twenty 7 Management Ltd has been held to account after what has been a long and complex enforcement process.
“We began gathering evidence about the activities at The Causeway Retreat over a year ago after finding out that it might be being run as a private hospital, unlawfully providing treatment for people with mental health needs and also offering detoxification services for people with drug or alcohol problems. Early this year we extended our investigation to include the clinic at Colchester.
“It is a legal requirement for those offering such services to be registered with CQC so that they can be properly regulated for the protection of people using the services. We hope this prosecution will send a strong message that we are prepared to take action against anyone who thinks they can get away with running services outside the law.”
Ms Carey said that from May this year the site on Osea Island ceased to be used for medical services, and in September the commission refused an application for the registration of The Causeway Retreat as a private hospital. The commission was informed that the Colchester clinic had already closed.
She added that Twenty 7 Management Ltd had previously also carried on a registered domiciliary (home care) agency in Lewes, East Sussex (recently trading as 1:1 Detox), but CQC had cancelled its registration in September this year.
For further information please contact the CQC press office on 0207 448 9401 or out of hours on 07917 232143.