PERFORMANCE: A plan drawn up by Derby Teaching Hospitals Foundation Trust to clear its elective treatment backlog has been labelled ‘not acceptable’ by both its local clinical commissioning group and Monitor.

  • Derby Teaching Hospitals’ waiting list recovery plan is too slow, says Southern Derbyshire CCG
  • CCG: Trust recovery plan “may well slip” and be hit by winter pressures.
  • Commissioners in talks with Nuffield Health and Care UK to find extra capacity

The bodies raised concerns that the acute trust’s referral to treatment recovery plan – which forecasts a “worst case” scenario of its backlog being cleared by November – is unrealistic, according to documents presented to Southern Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Group’s board.  

The CCG is in talks with neighbouring Nottingham University Hospitals Trust and private providers Care UK and Nuffield Health to make capacity available to help clear the trust’s backlog, which earlier this month stood at 7,200 patients.

While commissioners concluded that the trust had made good progress on reducing its overall inpatient waiting list from 8,500 patients in July, it said more is needed to be meet patients’ right under the NHS constitution to be treated within 18 weeks.

The number of patients waiting over 18 weeks for treatment has reduced from 1,582 to 1,000 over the same period.

A CCG spokeswoman said: “It is not acceptable to wait another six months before we can sustainably meet our patients’ constitutional rights to treatment within 18 weeks.

“We have had a number of recovery plans which have not delivered the required reduction in patients waiting more than 18 weeks.

“A plan to recover by November may well slip and could easily be derailed by winter pressures. As a CCG we want effective elective pathways which sustainably deliver treatments for patients within the timeframe set out in the NHS constitution.”

Derby Teaching Hospitals chief executive Sue James told HSJ that the trust plans to send 250 cases to Nuffield Health Derby Hospital at an estimated cost of £1.25m.

Ms James added: “We have held discussions with Nottingham University Hospitals but they do not have additional capacity at present and so no contract is in place.”

The CCG spokeswoman said that it had reached an agreement “in principle” with Care UK’s Barlborough Treatment Centre to deliver activity at the clinic.

She added that negotiations with private providers were currently for orthopaedic services only and treatments would be paid at tariff prices.

Commissioners are also discussing the prospect of funding the use of a mobile theatre facility, supplied by private provider Vanguard Healthcare.

Board documents say: “An option to utilise a Vanguard temporary theatre facility has been explored and may still be a viable option, albeit only for minor procedures.

“Operationally, this may be effective, but will only go ahead if concerns around the impact on infection control rates are fully addressed.

Explaining the causes of the trust’s waiting list backlog, Ms James said: “In the past year we have seen a significant increase in planned treatments at our hospitals.

“These numbers are exceeding our capacity to see, diagnose and treat each patient within 18 weeks.

“Patients are choosing to come here, even if they have to wait longer for their procedure and this is a testament to the quality of care we provide and the reputation our hospitals have with patients.

“We are working closely with Monitor and Southern Derbyshire CCG to explore all reasonable options for increasing our capacity elsewhere.”