Chlamydia screening is not a big outlay for commissioners but they are measured on it, along with other screening programmes.
NHS London’s performance sub-committee noted with concern in April that some commissioners seemed to have left it, and public health measures, out of their 2011-12 plans.
Despite the committee’s displeasure and chlamydia rates apparently rocketing across the country, NHS Barnet reported dropping its screening programme this year. It is available “on request” but is basically a lower priority than other programmes that, to use the words of its medical director, had a “greater measure of effectiveness”.
Barnet noted the position was supported by the local authority and was also due to be introduced by neighbouring NHS Haringey.
In both places screening performance is at the bottom end of the London scale. Both PCTs also received money last year from the PCT-funded challenged trust board – £43m and £28m, respectively.
Waltham Forest, Sutton and Merton, Enfield and Hillingdon also received bailouts from the board and a lot of young adults would not be screened if they applied the same rationale as Barnet.
Meanwhile, Hillingdon looks to be the first borough to trial the new 111 system in the capital, which might help it with the overperformance at Hillingdon Hospital. The PCT needed £4m in support from the rest of its cluster, North West London, as a result and had to agree an activity cap with the acute at the end of March.
It was not that long ago that NHS Hillingdon got £19m from the challenged trust board itself. This suggests Hillingdon Hospital’s April success in getting foundation trust status was even more of a triumph.