PERFORMANCE: London’s hospital sector is on track to miss its inpatient waiting time targets because trusts “took their foot off the accelerator” after being told the targets would be scrapped.

NHS London’s director of performance Sara Coles said the region was on course to miss the 90 per cent 18-week referral to treatment time target for 2011-12.

Ms Coles told the board last week that after hitting the target in July performance had slipped to 89.6 per cent in August.

“I regret to say we are going to struggle for the rest of the year to achieve 90 per cent,” she said, adding that “people took their foot off the accelerator” after health secretary Andrew Lansley scrapped the national performance management of the target last year.

After the Future Forum reported in June this year David Cameron said trusts would continue to be held to the target by the NHS Constitution.

Ms Coles said: “I am worried that [the target] is going to be difficult for us to achieve as we go through the year, especially as we haven’t gone through winter yet.”

She said there were two organisations, Imperial and Guy’s and St Thomas’, where flaws in inpatient data would “depress performance” for the region.

NHS London chief executive Dame Ruth Carnall told the meeting: “I am very, very concerned about some slips that we have in performance. If we are not careful we will have a worse performance this year than we did last year.”