Before we grant a new licence, or renew an existing one, we carry out an inspection.
By law, clinics and research centres must also be inspected every two years to make sure they are continuing to operate safe, legal and quality services and research in line with our Code of Practice. Sometimes we inspect clinics and centres more frequently if we need to, for example if something has happened to cause us concern, such as an incident or complaint.
Depending on the situation we can tell the clinic we’re coming in advance, at short notice or not tell them at all (an unannounced inspection).
At the inspection we check they’re making any improvements we’ve previously asked for and monitor how they’re doing against key areas agreed by our board. We also get feedback from patients, both online and face to face.
Our inspectors put all the findings into a report, identifying any areas which they are concerned about (non-compliances) and recommending how they can improve. This is presented to our Licence Committee, which decides on whether the clinic or centre’s licence can continue.
If the committee is very concerned about how the clinic or centre is performing, it can vary its licence (for example, adding a condition to ensure improvements are made), suspend it, or in extreme circumstances, revoke it.
All inspection reports are publicly available on our website. Search for a clinic or centre to read its latest inspection report.