Unregistered clinic fined £40,000

A private clinic has been fined £40,000 for performing cosmetic surgery without being registered in the first prosecution of its kind.

Healthcare regulator the Care Quality Commission (CQC) took action against The Northern Clinic.com Limited after receiving an anonymous tip-off from a member of the public.

Inspectors visited the firm's Wakefield and London clinics and found the firm was carrying out a surgical liposuction procedure without being registered with the CQC as is required by law.

On Wednesday, the company was fined £40,000 at Wakefield Magistrates' Court after admitting two charges of carrying on a regulated activity without being registered to do so. It was also ordered to pay the CQC's costs of £22,548.89.

It was the first successful prosecution brought by the CQC under the Health and Social Care Act (2008).

CQC director of operations Amanda Sherlock said: "Neither the company nor the locations where treatment was being carried out were registered so people using the service were at risk of receiving treatment which did not meet the standards required by law.

"The result of this case sends out a very clear message to providers that we will act on information we receive about unregistered services and will not hesitate to take tough enforcement action wherever necessary to ensure the safety of patients."

CQC inspectors visited the firm's Wakefield clinic in February last year, with further inspections carried out at the London clinic.

The treatment is called the 'Body Tite' procedure and is advertised on the firm's website as costing "from £2,000". It removes fat from patients' bodies and smoothes the skin.

Under the Health and Social Care Act (2008) it is an offence to provide surgical procedures without being registered with the CQC, which was set up under the Act. The regulator began registering healthcare providers in 2009 and has started bringing prosecutions in the last year.