A PREGNANCY scan clinic has been rated as inadequate by inspectors.

Hello Baby, on Scholes Lane, Portico, was given the lowest rating by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

Inspectors visited the premises at “short notice” on March 3 this year, with their findings published in a report on May 5.

Hello Baby is operated by Katie Ellison Limited, and provides a range of ultrasound scans for women during pregnancy.

It had been rated as requires improvement in its previous CQC inspection which took place in June 2019.

In their latest report, inspectors said the clinic was found to be ‘inadequate’ in terms of whether the service was safe and inadequate in whether it was well-led.

It was said to be ‘requires improvement’ in whether it was caring and responsive.

Meanwhile, the CQC did not give a rating on whether the service was effective.

Inspectors said the service has been placed into special measures and “suspended the service to allow the provider to act on our findings”.

The clinic has since been allowed to reopen.

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In the report, inspectors noted: “The service did not provide mandatory training in key skills and that staff “did not have the appropriate level of training on how to recognise and report abuse”.

Inspectors said: “The service did not control infection risk well and the clinic was visibly dirty”.

They added that “staff did not always complete relevant risk assessments for each woman using the service and “did not always keep detailed records of women who used the service”.

It was said staff “were not trained on how to provide emotional support to women” and the service “did not always take account” of “individual needs and preferences” of users.

It was said “leaders did not always have systems to manage performance effectively” and “did not always identify and escalate relevant risks and issues and identify actions to reduce their impact”.

However, inspectors noted that “staff treated women with compassion and kindness, and we observed friendly and caring interactions between staff and women”.

They added: “People could access the service when they needed to” and “staff felt respected, supported and valued”.

When contacted by the Star, Katie Ellison, manager of Hello Baby, said: “It appears we were one of, if not the first, scan centre to have a physical inspection under the new assessment criteria and after speaking to other scan centres, they too were also unaware of the new criteria implemented in October 2021. It was a shock, as some of the criteria is the same level as a hospital performing major operations, as opposed to what Hello Baby offers, which is keepsake scans, that are non-medical”.

She added: “However, we accepted the findings of the report and were helped immensely by the CQC, as well as local tradesmen and businesses, to get Hello Baby re-opened and in a position to score highly on our next report, which we welcome as soon as possible, to reflect the positive position we are now in, after such hard work.

“We have been a successful business and employer to St Helens for over 10 years and are very proud of the amount of five-star reviews and large following of over 33,000 on Facebook.

“Due to the amount of improvements we have implemented and after a review with the CQC, we were given the go ahead to re-open earlier than expected and this was due to the outstanding progress by everyone involved.

“We now have systems in place, far and above what was previously expected from our type of business and we have restructured the entire business to ensure we maintain this high level, in line with the new assessment criteria.

“We will keep in closer contact with the CQC moving forward, to ensure that we are fully aware and complying to the level expected. We would like to thank our customers for their amazing support. We are back - stronger than ever.”

A CQC spokeswoman said that the clinic was assessed under the same criteria as its previous inspection.