This is our first annual report for Class 3B/4 Laser and Intense Pulsed Light services and it’s purposes is to summarise our findings from our inspections and highlight areas.
We undertook 19 inspection of Class 3B/4 Laser and Intense Pulsed Light services across Wales last year. Although most patients were satisfied with their experiences when visiting these services, our inspections identified a significant number of areas for improvement and regulatory breaches within the services we visited.
Whilst we found that most services generally provided safe treatments, we identified areas of concern at six services which we believed could potentially pose risks to patient safety. As a result, HIW sought the agreement of these services to voluntarily cease providing treatments to patients until these issues were addressed and sufficient assurance had been provided to HIW. Following our inspections, five of these services expressed their wish to cancel their registration with HIW as they no longer wanted to continue providing treatments using Class 3B/4 lasers and IPL.
Of particular concern, was that the majority of services lacked sufficient awareness and understanding of the standards and regulations concerning the provision of Class 3B/4 laser and IPL services. Furthermore, most services did not have effective systems and processes in place to ensure they were meeting the relevant standards and complying with the regulations.
What we found
Services needed to make improvements in the following areas:
- Providing up-to-date training for staff in the safe use of lasers and IPL
- Ensuring the safe use of laser and IPL equipment including regular servicing, availability of up-to-date local rules and contact with a Laser Protection Adviser
- Arrangements for safeguarding children and vulnerable adults, including safeguarding training and suitable policies detailing clear procedures for staff to follow
- Up-to-date Disclosure and Barring Service checks in accordance with regulator requirements
- Arrangements for managing risk and health and safety
- Developing and keeping under review the documentation, policies and procedures required by the regulations
- Effective governance and quality assurance systems.
Where necessary, services were required to complete an improvement plan in order to provide HIW with assurance that the findings from inspections were being addressed.
In general, we found that the quality of improvement plans was poor, often because services had failed to sufficiently familiarise themselves with the requirements of the standards and regulations in order to take appropriate actions. In these cases, we took further action to ensure that services provided HIW with the necessary level of assurance.