East Kent Hospitals University Foundation Trust and its neighbouring clinical commissioning groups have been called to a meeting with NHS England and Monitor because of poor performance against cancer, accident and emergency, elective and diagnostic targets.

The trust was placed in special measures in September after the Care Quality Commission found there was a “worrying disconnect” between management and frontline staff. The regulator also had concerns about the accuracy of A&E waiting times data.

The four CCGs in the area were called to the meeting alongside the trust to put together an action plan for tackling the poor performance.

The trust only managed to treat 88.5 per cent of A&E patients within four hours between October and December, against a national target of 95 per cent.

Breast cancer radiology

The trust struggled to meet the target for symptomatic breast cancer waits

The trust has had 10 patients waiting over 52 weeks in the year to date for elective treatment, according to a note in Ashford CCG’s January board papers.

It has also struggled to meet the target for two week symptomatic breast cancer waits. Figures for October show only 84.5 per cent of patients were seen within two weeks against the 93 per cent standard and only 74 per cent of patients referred by their GP seen within the 62 day target against an 85 per cent standard.

Hazel Carpenter, accountable officer for South Kent Coast and Thanet CCGs, said: “The four clinical commissioning groups in east Kent have worked together with East Kent Hospitals University Foundation Trust to produce a comprehensive plan to ensure that performance is improved.

“We are pleased to see that the trust is now meeting the diagnostic and cancer targets and we will continue to monitor performance against A&E four hour waits.”

The trust is already meeting with Monitor and NHS England on a monthly basis as part of the special measures regime.

Jane Ely, interim director of operations for the trust, said it was now meeting the diagnostic targets after a “thorough review” of its systems and by recruiting extra nurses and doctors into endoscopy.

She added: “We are also meeting our cancer targets by protecting clinic capacity for breast screening and introducing service improvements for these complex cancer pathways.

“We continue to find demand for A&E attendances and discharging medically well patients a challenge, but are working with our CCGs and Kent County Council to help see improvements to our four hour waiting target.”

A spokeswoman for NHS England (South East) said the trust and CCGs had produced a recovery plan and performance is being “closely monitored” through monthly performance review meetings.