Hospitals could miss key targets on cancer care as the level of “financial risk” across the health sector increases, a new report has warned.
NHS foundation trusts - a supposed marker of excellence in the NHS - are predicting a fall in their income, with an impact on how they deliver services to patients.
Trust have told the regulator Monitor they expect a tough next three years, with more than a quarter (26%) of 129 foundation trusts saying they were at risk of breaching key standards.
These included targets on cancer, superbugs like MRSA and services for the mentally ill.
The report said: “For those that have declared a risk to their governance rating, the cancer service performance targets present the biggest challenge.
“The 62-day cancer target is the target most at risk of breach for acute and specialist (for example children’s hospitals, women’s hospitals, cancer hospitals) foundation trusts.”
The four-hour A&E waiting time target has also been relaxed, so trusts now have to hit it 95% of the time instead of 98%.
Despite this easing some of the pressure, the report said some foundation trusts still remained at risk of breaching governance standards.
A total of 23 trusts have already declared a risk to cancer targets, in particular the 62-day target from GP referral to treatment for cancer.