PERFORMANCE: A swine flu outbreak caused “severe organisational pressures” for the trust in December, eventually forcing it to cancel all elective patients except those with life-threatening conditions.

Suspected swine flu admissions rose sharply throughout the month, from five in the first week, to nearly 95 in the fourth.

The trust cancelled all elective major adult non-oncology surgery requiring critical care support from December 13. On December 17 it moved to cancellation of all non-oncology elective cases, and on January 4 to cancellation “of all elective patients except for life threatening conditions”.

A performance report to the trust’s January 26 board meeting said that while the trust had met all its cancer treatment targets in December “the implications of the cancellation of outpatients and surgery through the swine flu escalation will only be seen in subsequent months and will challenge the delivery of the targets”.