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Care Quality Commission warns online doctor services may pose risk to public

Patients could be at risk from online companies offering doctors’ services, the Care Quality Commission has said.

The warning comes after investigators found two firms were putting patients at risk by failing to examine their medical history before prescribing medicines. There were also questions over whether clinicians had the relevant skills or qualifications to prescribe or diagnose illnesses.

The inspectors found there were no processes for contacting a patient’s GP, including when medication was prescribed that required monitoring or a follow-up. The medics failed to check patient identity before prescribing online and there was no way of checking if people lacked the capacity to consent to treatments.

The two online firms were MD Direct (which had traded through the website and HR Healthcare Ltd ( The CQC said its inspection of HR Healthcare was influenced by an investigation by BBC Radio 5 Live, which looked at the site’s online sale of antibiotics.

Following this, the CQC suspended the registration of HR Healthcare Ltd. MD Direct voluntarily cancelled its registration; the site now uses a different online GP provider for its prescription service.

Read more in The Guardian.

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