PERFORMANCE: Accident and Emergency activity at James Paget UHFT over performed in all but two weeks of the winter, a letter from the strategic health authority has revealed.

A letter from NHS East of England chair Sarah Boulton to NHS Great Yarmouth and Waveney following an Annual Accountability Review meeting discussed winter pressures at the acute trust.

It said: “The number of cancelled operations and ambulances queuing reported by the trust on their daily sitreps to the Department of Health (DH) were generally minimal. There was a short norovirus outbreak in February, and an ambulance divert was required partially as a result of that.”

But the letter said the SHA had discussed “on numerous occasions the fact that JPUH routinely report themselves as being on black alert - the highest alert status possible” on the regional capacity management system.

However, it said: “This is even when their own reported pressures do not show them facing a significantly different situation to other trusts in the area who report a lower alert status. Media releases by the trust citing high levels of cancelled operations were contrary to Department of Health reporting.

“Inconsistencies in the information emerging from the trust make it very difficult for the system to react effectively in the circumstances when a whole system response is required.”

The letter also warned that “early data leads to concerns over the time to initial assessment for A&E attendees at JPUH. This should be addressed with the trust as soon as possible”.