The Department of Health might appear to hate targets these days, but you could be forgiven for thinking the news has not travelled north.
In some North West board meetings, at least, the “narrow process targets” health secretary Andrew Lansley is so keen to dismantle still seem to be in full working order.
NHS Bolton certainly did not seem relaxed to see that Royal Bolton Hospital Foundation Trust’s performance against accident and emergency and 18 week referral to treatment waiting targets continued to deteriorate in December.
The primary care trust warned it was “prepared to use contractual levers” to knock performance into shape, and “tasked” the FT with producing a “robust action plan” to address its failings against one of the soon-to-be-dismantled targets.
North West Ambulance Service Trust was so anxious about its response time target for category A calls that it produced an 82 page report detailing the extraordinary pressures it faced over December and New Year. The service received an extra 4,000 calls to immediately life-threatening emergencies compared with December 2009.
In Greater Manchester, cancer tsar Sir Mike Richards called a summit to propose that hospitals share the responsibility for meeting cancer specialist the Christie Foundation Trust’s 62 day waiting target.
But, arguably, the region’s most innovative response to target pressure this month came from Sefton. As HSJ exclusively revealed last week, trusts in the area plan to improve their performance on delayed transfers of care with the novel use of anti-trespass powers to encourage patients to accept care home placements.