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Elite athletes clinic at Loughborough is placed in special measures following inspection

Posted: 29th July 2022

The centre has been given six months to make improvements or face further action.

A sports clinic which treats and supports elite athletes has been rated as “inadequate” following an inspection by the Care Quality Commission, (CQC). The official watchdog said its inspectors found a number of failings at The English Institute of Sport, in Loughborough, and have placed it in ‘special measures’.

It said the centre, which is located on the Loughborough University campus, must make improvements in time for a follow-up inspection, which is set to take place in six months, or face closure. The CQC found the centre had insufficient infection control measures in place, gaps in staff training and instances of expired medicines not being removed from stock.

As a result, the service was graded “inadequate” for its safety and leadership, “requires improvement” for its effectiveness and “good” for its level of care and responsiveness following a visit by two inspectors, the CQC said. The watchdog published its findings in a report issued this month.

The centre, which comes under the umbrella of the the English Institute of Sport Limited, treats both adult and child athletes. Its team consisted of four sports and exercise doctors, seven physiotherapists, a nutritionist, strength and conditioning coaches, an operations lead, and a team of administration support, with all doctors listed on the specialist register of sport and exercise medicine.

Inspectors noted staff treated athletes with ‘kindness, respect and compassion’ – as well as an understanding of athletes’ personal, cultural, social and religious needs. The culture at the centre was also commended, with employees stating they felt respected, supported, valued and were proud to work for the service.

However the report highlighted that there was no procedures in place to report and review significant incidents and staff had not had up-to-date safeguarding training. The report added: “Emergency medicines were not managed effectively. Some medicines were found to have expired and had not been removed from stock.

“There was no process in place for infection control and staff had not received infection control training. There was no procedure to report, review and learn from significant events and staff had not had updated safeguarding training.

“At the time of our inspection, the provider was changing their training platform and they expected all staff to have completed their mandatory training by September 2022.

“There were some medicines and equipment to deal with medical emergencies which were stored appropriately and checked regularly. We saw adrenaline available, however some stocks of the autoinjector pens were out of date and had not been removed from the emergency kit despite there being other adrenaline available.

“We were told that this was because some staff did not know how to administer adrenaline not stored in an autoinjector. The out of date medicines were not labelled as not fit for use and there was a risk that these could be used in an emergency.

“Other items recommended in national guidance were not kept however we did not see an appropriate risk assessment to inform this decision. Following the inspection, we were told that the out of date medicines were removed from the emergency medical bag and advice had been given to staff.”

Dr Rosie Benneyworth, chief inspector of primary medical services and integrated care, said the centre would be kept under review. She said: “I am placing this service in special measures. Services placed in special measures will be inspected again within six months.

“If insufficient improvements have been made such that there remains a rating of inadequate for any key question or overall, we will take action in line with our enforcement procedures to begin the process of preventing the provider from operating the service.

“This will lead to cancelling their registration or to varying the terms of their registration within six months if they do not improve. The service will be kept under review and if needed could be escalated to urgent enforcement action.

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