COMMERCIAL: North Bristol Trust is outsourcing £1.6m of surgical work in order to meet performance on the 18-week referral to treatment target.

Although the trust is meeting the target there is a growing backlog of patients who have waited longer than 18 weeks.

The trust is outsourcing around 80 orthopaedic cases and five neurosurgery cases a month to Spire Bristol and Circle Bath.

It has told lead commissioners NHS South Gloucestershire it will bring performance back in line with target by September for neurosurgery but estimates it will be March 2013 before it has dealt with the orthopaedic backlog.