PERFORMANCE: Monitor has launched an investigation into failure to hit waiting time to treatment targets at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals Foundation Trust.

The regulator said Lancashire had performed poorly against the 18 weeks to treatment target since April 2013, prompting it to investigate whether the trust had breached its licence.

The trust, which runs Chorley and South Ribble Hospital and the Royal Preston Hospital, has also exceeded its clostridium difficile infection trajectory for the year.

In September – the most recent month for which data is available – the provider hit the 92 per cent target for the proportion of patients waiting to start treatment within 18 weeks. However, for patients who had completed their pathway and started treatment involving hospital admission, only 77 per cent had started against a 90 per cent target.

Monitor regional director Robert Davidson said: “Currently patients are waiting too long for some treatments and we want to know why this is happening. We will take further action to ensure things are put right, if necessary.”

Lancashire Teaching Hospitals chief executive Karen Partington said the trust had informed Monitor last month it would not meet the target for the third consecutive quarter. She said “intense, growing and unsustainable pressure” last winter, and the resulting postponement of elective procedures, was partly behind the failure.

She added the trust was “absolutely committed to providing excellent care with compassion”, and would work closely with Monitor to “share our recovery plans, and make sure we are taking every action possible to deliver timely treatment, and reduce hospital acquired infection”.