• HSJ understands directions to be placed on Havering CCG by NHS England
  • NHS England wants to see improvement in the elective waiting times across the three outer London boroughs
  • Move follows CCGs backing down in face of challenge from private provider

PERFORMANCE: A London clinical commissioning group is to be given directions by NHS England over elective waiting times, HSJ understands.

Havering CCG, which led the local CCGs on managing performance on elective waiting times in north east London, confirmed on Thursday that NHS England had stepped in to address the situation.

A spokeswoman for the outer north east London CCGs said: “We have agreed with NHS England the need for a stronger plan from Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals Trust, along with a joint plan to tackle the referral to treatment times backlog and we have been focusing on this for the past two months.”

The CCGs recently had to back down in the face of a contract challenge from private care provider Care UK. The private firm challenged the CCGs’ decision to award a contract for elective work to local NHS provider BHRUT.

The complaint was made to Monitor in July and Monitor’s succesor body NHS Improvement said earlier this month that the CCGs had decided to reverse the decision and extend Care UK’s contract for a further 15 months. The CCGs’ grounds for doing this were that it had become aware of performance problems at the acute trust.

HSJ understands no leadership changes have been ordered at Havering CCG, which, like Barking and Dagenham CCG and Redbridge CCG, is led by Conor Burke.

NHS England has not yet published the directions HSJ understands it has made. These are legal requirements on a CCG to improve aspects of its performance or governance.

BHRUT has not reported its elective waiting times data since August 2014 and in March HSJ revealed a large backlog of patients waiting more than a year.

The trust, placed in special measures in January 2014, says there is a longstanding mismatch between elective capacity and demand in outer north east London.

In December, Shropshire CCG became the first group to be put in special measures.