PERFORMANCE: City and Hackney Clinical Commissioning Group has highlighted ‘deep concerns’ about the quality of services provided by Barts Health Trust.

In a letter to the trust, NHS England and Tower Hamlets CCG, commissioners said there was “significant evidence of failing administrative and support systems, which is reflected strongly and consistently in feedback received from local GPs”.

In July a clerical error was uncovered at the trust, which may have resulted in delays to thousands of patients’ appointments.

City and Hackney CCG said it was “very concerned about the effect of these system failures on the overall clinical safety of services, the experience of our patients and potential clinical harm”.

It added that it had requested “on a number of occasions” information about patients who may have waited a long time for elective treatment but had not yet received a response.

The letter said: “We remain very concerned about the impact of these waits on our patients but have no information to really look into this and assess this.”

There was also concern about the number of “never events” at the trust.

The CCG’s leadership team invited the trust, NHS England and other local commissioners to attend its board meeting, which took place last week, to “give us some assurance of how you are tackling these issues clinically and managerially, your trajectories for when we can expect improvements… and how you are ensuring that our patients are not exposed to clinical harm”.

A Barts spokeswoman said it was “committed to improving the areas of concern recently raised by our commissioners”, but that “overall we continue to provide safe care as evidenced by our consistently low hospital mortality rates across the trust”.

She added that an action plan has been put together with the help of commissioners. It includes plans to recruit extra staff to improve the accuracy of the information reported to CCGs, work to reduce the number of “never events”, and centralising all outpatient booking services to reduce the number of missed appointments.

A response from Tower Hamlets CCG chair Sam Everington said the CCG “share these concerns” and it “feels a responsibility to work jointly with the trust where appropriate to facilitate the delivery of improved quality of care for our patients”.

He said a contract query notice has been raised to tackle waiting times performance, and a clinical harm review has been in place since May last year to “establish whether or not clinical harm to patients has arisen as a result of 18 weeks delays”.