AN online clinic which was suspended by the health watchdog has now been given a clean bill of health by the regulator.

Bolton-based HR Healthcare was reinspected by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and rated good.

And say bosses behind the online service which operates Treated.Com it is among the first such practices to be given a "Good" rating in all areas by the CQC.

The inspection found the service had systems to manage risk so that safety incidents were less likely to happen, the service routinely reviewed the effectiveness and appropriateness of the care it provided, it ensured that care and treatment was delivered according to evidence-based guidelines and staff involved and treated people with compassion, kindness, dignity and respect.

A previous inspection in November 2016 found that at time HR Healthcare was in breach of regulations and put patients at risk of harm. The service was initially given a three month suspension. But the company asked for the suspension period to be extended to six months, feeling that this was necessary in order to carry out a thorough reassessment of their systems and processes.

The service went back online in July 2017 following a further CQC inspection.

Registered Manager for HR Healthcare and Clinical Director, Dr Daniel Atkinson, said: "Internet providers are becoming more widely used, so we were pleased when the CQC recognised the need to develop an inspection model that was tailored specifically to online services. We also welcomed the news earlier this year that CQC would be introducing a ratings system, similar to that used when inspecting brick and mortar providers.

"The landscape of online care is constantly changing. We strive to be at the very forefront of the industry, using technology and innovation to make access to care easier and more convenient for patients. Being registered with the CQC helps us to achieve this objective, is reassuring for patients and ensures our practices adhere to the highest possible level of safety."

He added: "Since our services became available again two years ago, we’ve continued to work on improving our offering and even further developing our safety standards. We’ve done this through a combination of developing our own technology, and building relationships with other service providers.

"Educating patients on how to ensure an online provider is safe is another priority for us. By being registered with the CQC, and highlighting to our patients the important role regulators play in our practice.

Dr Daniel Atkinson says he has also recently joined a forum of digital health providers, who are working closely with CQC to develop and implement standards in this emerging area of healthcare.

"The aim of the forum is to help organisations in online care better understand the practices they should aspire to follow, so that we can all better serve patients."