Storm clouds continue to gather around Heatherwood and Wexham Park Hospitals Foundation Trust.

The troubled Berkshire FT continues to report dismal financial figures – and its cost-saving plans are now impacting on efforts to reduce waiting lists.

Board papers for October show the trust’s scheduled care division has cancelled all booked additional theatre sessions and any further planned outsourcing of elective surgery to the private sector. Both measures had been part of a programme to clear its 18 week backlog.

Referral to treatment waiting times remain an ongoing problem, with the 95th percentile hovering just above the 18 week target for non-admitted patients and well over target at 23 weeks for those who are admitted.

The backlog remains static for numbers of patients waiting – and its board papers say that bringing waiting times within target is “dependent upon the willingness of Berkshire East primary care trust to commission the additional activity… and to provide appropriate levels of additional funding”.

This, along with outstanding Care Quality Commission compliance targets, caused the trust to receive a red rating on operational performance in its last submission to Monitor.

It also received the worst possible rating on finance. The trust ran at a deficit of £1.7m in September, contributing to a year to date deficit of £8.3m – more than double the planned shortfall of £4m, which itself was a revised figure submitted to Monitor in July.

Finally, the trust also reported an accelerating trend in referrals from NHS Berkshire East to its neighbours Royal Berkshire and Frimley Park. It is increasingly losing out on high-value work, with a 3.4 per cent drop in outpatient activity translating to a 6.4 per cent drop in income.