PERFORMANCE: Less than nine out of 10 A&E patients were treated within the four hour standard at East and North Hertfordshire Trust in the first week of January.

A report to NHS Hertfordshire showed the trust’s performance dipped to 89.2 per cent for the week ending 8 January - well below its performance for the year to date of 96.5 per cent. The trust also missed the 95 per cent standard in two months in late 2011 and does not expect to meet it for January overall.

“This is linked to the reconfiguration of services resulting in shifts from the Queen Elizabeth II to the Lister,” the board was told. The trust has an action plan, supported by detailed service reconfiguration planning. “Extra support from the emergency care intensive support team has also been requested,” the report said.

The hospital trust’s board meeting was told that the shift in demand between the hospitals has moved beyond anticipated levels.

The trust has since announced changes to the A&E service at the Queen Elizabeth II Hospital which came into effect in mid-January. This has meant only minor injuries are dealt with overnight and major cases have to go to the Lister.

A trust spokesman said this had not been prompted by the failure to meet the four hour standard in early January.

“We began work on these changes back in September 2011, with a target implementation date of early January. This includes briefing materials sent at the time to our external stakeholders (local media through to MPs), discussions at our local scrutiny committee, a formal 90-day staff consultation and engagement meetings with patient groups and other interested parties,” the spokesman added.