PERFORMANCE: Northumbria Healthcare Foundation Trust is forecasting it will have 84 cases of C difficile this year - bringing it very close to its target of 90.

But the trust is concerned that if it exceeds 104 cases financial penalties will be  incurred. In a report to the board, it argues that it faced a particularly difficult winter in 2010-11 and a lack of single rooms at Wansbeck General Hospital meant that patients with symptoms could not always be managed in them.

This affected its first quarter performance but since then it has invested £7.6m in reconfiguring facilities and increasing capacity. It’s now arguing that should it incur financial penalties they should only be based on the income for Wansbeck, not its other units.