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Tribunal upholds CQC decision to close drug treatment service

12 April 2017
  • Media,
  • Treatment and rehabilitation (substance misuse)

A decision by the Care Quality Commission to close a London clinic for people who needed support with substance misuse has been upheld by an independent tribunal at the Royal Courts of Justice.

People who used the clinic are now being offered support to find an alternative service.

Islington based AdAstra provides substitute medicines to more than 140 clients who were travelling to the clinic from a 50 mile radius. Around 60 of AdAstra’s clients are currently prescribed medication that exceeds current recommended levels and they will need careful support in the future.

CQC had serious concerns regarding the safety, effectiveness and leadership of the private drug treatment service - and proposed to cancel the provider’s registration - effectively forcing it to close. The provider appealed against the decision to a care standards tribunal.

Judge Melanie Lewis said:

“These matters present a risk to the health and welfare of service users. Cancellation of registration is an appropriate and proportionate sanction in all the circumstances of the case.”

Jane Ray, CQC’s Head of Hospital Inspections (Mental Health, Substance Misuse and Learning Disabilities), said:

“We had serious concerns as the clinic was not providing treatment in line with current guidance on best practice. Prescriptions were not being managed safely. Clients were not receiving appropriate support with their physical health needs and the clinic was not working in partnership with the clients GPs."

“We initially thought of the immediate closure of the clinic. Instead we decided to take a slower approach to allow alternative arrangements to be put into place for the clients. This gave the clinic time to make improvements and appeal against our decision. Unfortunately the provider did not make the necessary improvements which is why the tribunal upheld our decision.”

In February 2017, CQC undertook its latest inspection to monitor any progress the provider had made and to update the tribunal. That inspection report will be published shortly.

Islington commissioners have arranged for two local substance misuse providers to be available to speak to AdAstra clients on an individual basis and offer support to signpost them to alternative services.

CQC has asked AdAstra to contact all their 142 clients and ask if anyone does not want their details passed onto the two local substance misuse providers. 


For further information please contact Ray Cooling, Regional Engagement Manager (London), on 020 7448 9136 or call the press office on 020 7448 9401 during office hours. 

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Last updated:
29 May 2017

Notes to editors

Whenever CQC inspects it will always ask the following five questions of every service:
  • Are they safe?
  • Are they effective?
  • Are they caring?
  • Are they responsive to people’s needs?
  • Are they well-led?
Since 1 April, registered providers of health and social care services have been required to display their ratings on their premises and on their websites so that the public can see their rating quickly and easily.

About the Care Quality Commission

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is the independent regulator of health and social care in England.

We make sure health and social care services provide people with safe, effective, compassionate, high-quality care and we encourage care services to improve.

We monitor, inspect and regulate services to make sure they meet fundamental standards of quality and safety and we publish what we find to help people choose care.