• A&E target will sill be monitored by NHSE
  • 12 dataset collections paused, including cancelled operations
  • Post April CCG mergers paused

Trusts’ performance against waiting time targets will continue to be monitored, NHS England and Improvement has confirmed.

NHSE/I chief operating officer Amanda Pritchard has told trusts that monitoring and management of standards such as the four-hour accident and emergency wait and 18 week elective care referral to treatment targets will continue.

But fines for breaches of the 52-week RTT target will be suspended from 1 April onwards, and while data for the 28-day faster diagnosis standard for cancer – due to come into effect on that date – will still be collected, this “will not be subject to formal performance management,” the NHSE/I letter said.

The letter also revealed that mergers between clinical commissioning groups due for next month should be completed, but that other mergers and work on the NHS long-term plan should be paused.

Trusts will also not need to submit monthly reports on cancelled operations or delayed transfers of care during the coronavirus crisis.

The letter, published on March 28, said: ”Monitoring and management against the four-hour standard and ambulance performance (…) will continue nationally and locally, to support system resilience.”

Ms Pritchard told commissioners and providers that most data collections will remain in place “to ensure effective performance recovery efforts can begin immediately after the intense period of covid-19 response activity has subsided”.

But she outlined the 12 datasets that do not need to be submitted to NHS Digital between 1 April and 30 June. These include monthly sitrep figures on urgent operations cancelled, elective operations cancelled, mixed sex accommodation and delayed transfers of care.

The data collections suspended from 1 April to 30 June:

• Urgent operations cancelled (monthly sitrep)

• Delayed transfers of care (monthly return)

• Diagnostics PTL


• Cancelled elective operations

• Audiology

• Mixed-sex accommodation

• Venous thromboembolism (VTE)

• 26-week choice

• Pensions impact data collection

• Ambulance quality indicators (clinical outcomes)

• Dementia assessment and referral (DAR)

CCG mergers due to take place in April 2020 should be completed, but work on any later mergers should be delayed, the letter said.

No new public consultations on service reconfigurations are to be held by trusts except when they concern the NHS’ covid-19 response or the construction of ”agreed new facilities”, NHSE/I said.

Trusts and CCGs have also been told by NHSE/I to continue to hold board meetings but to “streamline” audit, risk and remuneration committees, hold meetings virtually, and where possible delay them until later in the year. Meetings in-person with governors should also be stopped, NHSE/I said.

Organisations will not be fined if board meetings are called off because too many members are self-isolating.

Those organisations which do not fully comply with the NHS data security and protection standard because doing so would impact their covid-19 response will not face compliance action. Use of resources assessments have also been suspended by NHSE/I.

Operational work on the NHS long-term plan has been paused, and trusts can suspend data collection for all national clinical audits, according to the guidance. But collections for the child death database and MBRRACE-UK-perinatal surveillance data will continue as “this is important in understanding the impact of covid-19,” the letter said.