PERFORMANCE: The health system in Berkshire East has been judged to be “failing”, due in large part to performance at Heatherwood and Wexham Park Foundation Trust.

Berkshire primary care trust cluster chief executive Charles Waddicor called the verdict “disappointing”, and said it was “because the system is not meeting the 18 week targets and is now failing A&E targets as well.”

He said: “Staff will be working hard with Heatherwood and Wexham Park to deal with this.” The cluster board will be addressing the issue directly with the trust on 18 October.

NHS Berkshire also criticised Heatherwood and Wexham Park’s stroke care, which fell short of a target for the proportion of patients spending 90 per cent of their time on a dedicated stroke unit, and said the trust was the worst in the region on VTE.

Board papers from NHS South Central’s final meeting last month said key concerns in the Berkshire East health economy were referral to treatment times; activity levels; finance; accident and emergency; and patient choice.

The trust, which is currently in the process of recruiting an interim chief executive following the departure last month of Julie Burgess, has also closed a birthing unit at Heatherwood Hospital due to staff sickness and absence. The unit is expected to reopen early in 2012.