PERFORMANCE: One of the 14 trusts being investigated because of concern triggered by mortality indicators has complained about the delay in it receiving formal information about the investigation process.

In a report to a meeting of the board this week Sally Irvine, the chair of Colchester Hospital University Foundation Trust, was due to say that the only information the organisation had received about the NHS England investigation had been from contacts and the media.

“I have been attending the weekly issues management group that is overseeing the preparation for that review and the enormous work involved, not least in maintaining staff morale and confidence in the face of misreporting and misunderstanding of the issues involved,” she said. “We are still awaiting the first formal communication to us from anybody about this.”

Chief executive Gordon Coutts, in his report to the board, revealed the trust was informed by telephone on 6 February it was to be included in the review, which is being led by medical director Sir Bruce Keogh, but “we have not received any additional direct information”.

Responding to the report NHS England, until recently known as the NHS Commissioning Board, said it had held a “very constructive” teleconference with chief executives of the affected trusts on 10 April. It said: “Terms of reference for the review, setting out a clear three-stage process, were published last month. We are currently in stage one of the review: gathering and collating information and data already available about, among other things, clinical quality and outcomes, as well as the views and feedback of patients and staff. We are assessing and analysing this evidence to develop key lines of enquiry.

“There is a huge amount of information available in the NHS. It is vital that we fully identify, collate and analyse all this data so that we can completely understand each hospital’s unique circumstances and case mixes and plan review visits accordingly.

“At the same time, we are working to shape and assemble the regional review teams which will carry out stage two: rapid response reviews at the 14 identified hospital trusts. We expect teams to begin visiting the individual trusts next month.”