WORCESTERSHIRE’s Acute Hospital NHS Trust has failed to hit its Accident & Emergency four-hour waiting target for the 15th consecutive month.
That’s the grim message for health chiefs, who were also told at a board meeting on Wednesday (February 3) that the Trust’s projected financial shortfall for the current year had spun out to £65million.
In a report to the board at Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust Sarah Smith, the director of strategy, planning and improvement, explains that despite waiting times improving they still fell short of NHS England’s Emergency Access Standard of 95 per cent of patients seen within four hours.
In October the Trust broke the 90 per cent barrier for the first time since November 2014 but had slipped back to 89 per cent by December, despite one of the mildest winters on record.
The Trust, branded ‘inadequate’ by health watchdog the Care Quality Commission, also failed to hit the national 15-minute standard for assessment in A&E, averaging 28 minutes for November and December.
However it did hit its 18 week Referral to Treatment time while its performance for cancer patients showed some success in cutting waiting times.
Financially, these failures to hit waiting times and the resulting penalties go some way to explain why the projected overspend for 2015/16 at the Trust as a whole has gone out from £61.6million to £65.1million.
Income, fines and penalties are currently running at £3.6million more than forecast, the impact of medically fit for discharge but with nowhere suitable to go to is £4.6million while overspend on premium temporary staff in A&E is currently running at £8.8million.
Interim finance director Rob Cooper also told the board that the Trust had already used up a £38million loan facility, which was meant to cover the whole year, and will need at least an extra £20million to to meet its commitments, avoid clinical incidents and pay suppliers to the end of this financial year.