PERFORMANCE: Luton and Dunstable Hospital FT expected to breach cancer waiting targets for the first two months of current financial year due to clearing a backlog, according to board papers.

Providers are judged against waiting limits of two weeks for urgent cancer referrals from GPs, 31 days from diagnosis to definitive treatment and 62 days from GP referral to treatment. Figures for the first three months of 2011-12 have not yet been released.

A report of the FT’s audit committee, released under the Freedom of Information Act, includes notes on a review of operational performance in May. It said performance had “triggered a compliance review” of the trust by Monitor. The review concluded that the trust was “not in significant breach of its authorisation” although a letter from the regulator said the decison was “finely balanced”.

It said: “The clearance of the cancer backlog would result in the trust breaching cancer targets in both April and May.” The trust had already failed to meet three of the cancer targets as well as MRSA screening targets for the three months up to March.

It said the breach would result in a “compliance penalty” and, combined with concerns from the Care Quality Commission, would lead to a “red rating” for governance at the trust being submitted to Monitor.

The trust has assured monitor that the targets would be achieved for the second quarter of 2011-12.