A privately operated hospital is being threatened with closure following the death of three people after routine surgery.

Hertfordshire-based Surgicentre, which treats NHS patients, was issued with a suspension notice in May this year by the Care Quality Commission. The health regulator is now investigating the deaths to establish whether medical negligence was involved in the patients’ care and whether the deaths were preventable. This is despite an earlier independent report in February this year indicating that the care that had been provided to the patients was not substandard. The unit is now at risk of having its licence to practice suspended and being forced to close down.

It has been reported that these concerns are the latest in a serious of failings at the hospital identified by the CQC since it opened in 2011. NHS Hertfordshire suspended all new referrals for eye and orthopaedic joint treatment last year as a result of concerns at the unit.

Lister Surgicentre provides routine surgery in areas such as ear, nose and throat, trauma, orthopaedics, gynaecology and ophthalmology.

Stephen McPartland, the Conservative MP for Stevenage, has long campaigned for the care provided by Lister Surgicentre to be returned to the NHS and is backing the closure of the private facility.

A spokesman for CQC has declined to comment further whilst the legal process is ongoing. The owners of the unit have the option of appealing the suspension notice but have not confirmed whether they will be doing so.