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09.01.17

Missed cancer target puts trust’s transformation funding at risk

Sustainability and transformation funding (STF) for Barking, Havering and Redbridge NHS University Hospitals NHS Trust is at risk because the trust is failing to meet its target on cancer waiting times.

The £1.8bn fund is used to help NHS trusts tackle their deficits and transform services, but is partly tied to the ability of trusts to meet key performance targets, something the NHS as a whole has been struggling to do.

Papers from the latest board meeting at the trust, which is in special measures, reveal that it currently faces an £11.9m deficit. Allowing for reductions to the STF because of the missed cancer target, this rises to £12.7m.

In November 2016, 73.6% of patients at Barking, Havering and Redbridge began treatment within 62 days of an urgent GP referral for suspected cancer, against an 85% target.

The trust noted “there are no direct financial implications of this report”, but “there is a risk in relation to contract performance and STF funding”.

The report notes that A&E waiting times and hospital infections are additional areas of concern, with 88.9% of A&E patients being seen within four hours, compared to a 95% target. Vacancy rates within the emergency department remained high, with a 106% fill rate in agency and bank staff.

There were two cases of C-diff, with a total to date of 23, and one case of MRSA, taking the total to six. The report noted that controls against hospital infections did not “appear sufficient”. Overall, progress on the trust’s project to improve services and access funding was rated as ‘amber’.

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