FINANCE: Heatherwood and Wexham Park NHS Foundation Trust has seen a drop in outpatient activity from its local primary care trust, with high-value work appearing to be the hardest hit.

Board papers for September released to HSJ under the Freedom of Information Act show that while outpatient activity from Berkshire East primary care trust fell 3.4 per cent in the year to June 2011, the trust’s outpatient income fell by 6.4 per cent.

“It appears that high value work is being lost”, the papers say. “Further detailed analysis has revealed an accelerating trend in referrals away from HWP in Bracknell to Royal Berkshire and Frimley Park [trusts].”

It means the trust is receiving £8.8m a year less from Berkshire East PCT on outpatient work than a year earlier. The trust has currently run up a year-to-date deficit of £8.3m in the first six months of 2011-12.

In the Bracknell locality, ten out of 16 GP practices have cut activity or income to the trust by more than 5 per cent, with two cutting by 10 per cent or more. The papers note: “Both Frimley and Royal Berkshire are now operating services in Bracknell, with RBH intending to expand further.”

In Windsor, Ascot and Maidenhead, seven out of 20 cut the trust’s outpatient activity or income by more than 5 per cent, along with six out of 18 in south Buckinghamshire.

In Slough, where trust’s major acute hospital is based, three out of 17 practices cut activity and/or income by 10 per cent or more.