PERFORMANCE: Buckinghamshire Healthcare has rejected the local PCTs request to extend waiting times for non-urgent patients.

The trust’s February board papers reveal that in November a request had been received from NHS Buckinghamshire to extend outpatient waiting times for non-urgent patients to 12 weeks. The PCT has also written to GPs to this effect but has now decided not to implement the plan.

But chief executive Anne Eden told the meeting that the trust has “made a commitment to deliver the 18 week target” and therefore she had asked the PCT to “rescind the instruction to GPs”.

The minutes note: “There were major concerns about the effect this action would have on compliance with the 18 week pathway… It would also be difficult to take out any costs in the interim period and clinical risk would need to be understood and managed.”

The trust will work with the PCT to consider the possible implications and the potential for an increase in A&E activity and referral to other hospitals.

A spokeswoman for the PCT said:  “There was some discussion last year about moving to a 12 week wait for most non-urgent first outpatient appointments in Buckinghamshire. It was decided that this was not practical and the national average wait for first appointment is now used as a benchmark. We continue to meet the 18 week target from referral until treatment.”