A leading south coast trust does not expect to hit the referral-to-treatment performance target until March 2018. 

Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals Trust is currently reporting 73 per cent of patients waiting no more than 18 weeks, but has a backlog of just under 9,000 who have already waited more than that time. The NHS standard is 92 per cent.

It also has more than 225 patients with possible cancers who have been undiagnosed for more than 62 days after being referred and 62 – 12 of them with confirmed cancer – who have been waiting over 104 days for treatment and diagnosis.

In some clinical areas, the trusts says it has a “genuine imbalance between capacity to treat and demand for services” and is looking for new capacity to enable it to meet elective waiting time targets. This has included running extra sessions and offering patients treatment with private providers.

Other problems include patients being booked out of chronological order, delays in a new referral service commissioned by Brighton and Hove CCG, and delays in patients being referred to the trust from the Sussex Musculo-Skeletal Partnership.

A report to its board says there are 100 patients who have waited more than a year – 89 of these waiting for treatment for digestive diseases. The trust is considering refusing any new referrals for this service for six months to allow it to review and change the service.

A revised trajectory put in place by the trust sees it achieving 76.4 per cent against the 92 per cent standard by the end of this financial year, with the standard being reached a year later.