Private ultrasound clinic wrongly told Yorkshire mums they had miscarried, damning report finds

A private baby ultrasound clinic in Wakefield wrongly diagnosed miscarriages and did not signpost women who were bleeding to A&E, a damning inspection report has revealed.

By Victoria Finan
Wednesday, 6th July 2022, 3:43 pm
Updated Wednesday, 6th July 2022, 4:27 pm

The Baby Ultrasound Clinic offers women “dating and reassurance” scans from the seventh week of pregnancy for up to £99.

The services are available on top of NHS scans, which in most pregnancies take place at 12 and 20 weeks to spot and diagnose abnormalities and in some cases can accurately determine the sex of the baby.

The private scans can give parents the opportunity to find out their baby’s sex earlier than the 20 week NHS scan, according to the clinic’s website.

The Baby Ultrasound Clinic offers women “dating and reassurance” scans from the seventh week of pregnancy for up to £99.

But an inspection by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) found the clinic had given the wrong gender to some women, with others wrongly being told they had miscarried.

No identity checks were made of women attending appointments, with inspectors saying this could have led to safeguarding errors.

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And staff at the clinic did not pass on health and safeguarding concerns to women’s GPs if anything was flagged during the scan.

The report read: “We saw several concerns expressed as complaints by women whom had used the service.

“Some women stated that they had been given the incorrect gender or had been told they had miscarried wrongly.

“We asked the registered manager if scan images were checked by another sonographer or escalated at the sonographer’s request. We were told that they were checked, however there was no record or evidence of this.

“The provider told us they did not have an incident log as they had never had any incidents. We reviewed the providers complaints book and saw several incidents which had not been categorised as incidents. These included wrongly diagnosed miscarriage and allegations of poor staff competency.”

On the day the CQC inspected the clinic, on Wood Street, the sonographer due to scan women was unavailable to work meaning all bookings were cancelled at short notice.

Sonographers who had qualified overseas did not have their credentials checked by the clinic’s management, the inspection found.

Staff were also untrained in how to care for women in emotional distress after hearing bad news at a scan, the report said.

The CQC gave 29 safety measures the clinic must improve on, including infection control, safeguarding and protocols for when women present to the clinic with abnormal or concerning symptoms.

In a statement to the BBC, the clinic – which is franchised – said it was under new management since the inspection which took place in May.

A statement read: “This particular clinic has been taken over by new management who are working on this location to get this to the high standard we expect all our clinics to work to.”