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Watchdog repeatedly told about private NHS medicines courier

The watchdog responsible for investigating unresolved healthcare complaints has been warned repeatedly for nine months about problems with Sciensus, a private company paid millions to deliver vital medicines to NHS patients, the Guardian can reveal.

The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) has received 18 official requests to examine grievances against Sciensus since August last year, but has not begun any investigations, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The revelation comes after a Guardian investigation exposed serious and significant concerns raised by patients, clinicians and health groups about Sciensus.

The investigation revealed that the company has struggled to provide a safe or reliable service. Patients persistently complain about delayed or missed home deliveries of medication, the Guardian found, with clinicians warning that the health of some has deteriorated as a result.

The investigation also uncovered how some NHS staff experience “daily issues” with Sciensus. Others reported an increase in patients “flaring” as a result of missed or delayed medication. Some have seen a rise in hospital admissions.

In the wake of the investigation, the Care Quality Commission, the care regulator, said it was “aware of concerns raised” about Sciensus, and was reviewing them.

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Source: The Guardian, 1 May 2023


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