PERFORMANCE: 250 of the trust’s patients will be transferred to the private sector in an effort to improve waiting times at Pennine Acute, one of its commissioners has reported.

NHS Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale’s latest performance report states: “It was agreed that to assist with the reduction of ‘backlog’ patients that had waited over 18 weeks, 250 patients would be transferred to Independent Sector (IS) providers.

“The specialist ophthalmology patients have now been treated at IS providers as have most of the trauma and orthopaedic patients (the remainder being sent out in the next three weeks).”

Patients from the trusts general surgery backlog will also be sent to the private sector.

The report went on to say that although the trust had been told by NHS North West that it had to recover its position against waiting times targets by the end of September, targets for admitted patients had not been achieved in September or October.

Pennine Acute’s latest performance report, to the end of October 2011, shows it has not met the target of 90 per cent of admitted patients treated within 18 weeks in any month of 2011-12. However, it shows improved performance in October, missing the target by just 0.2 per cent.

The PCT’s report states that Pennine Acute were delivering against the admitted waits target in 2010-11, but performance deteriorated in April 2011 and the position has not been recovered since.

Pennine Acute’s board report states that a “detailed recovery plan” has been submitted to the SHA, and “specific improvement trajectories for reduction of the 18 week backlog” agreed with PCTs.

It adds: “An 18 Week Recovery Group was established to ensure effective implementation of the improvement plan.

“There are senior operational representatives from organisations across the North East Sector. The Recovery Group meet weekly, reporting to the North East Sector Commissioning Board, and the Trust’s Performance Management Group (monthly).”