A strategic health authority is considering using its strongest powers against a primary care trust, rated as “underperforming” for the seventh consecutive month.
NHS South Central’s board will consider today whether to put Portsmouth City Teaching PCT “in intervention”, a move that could see a change in management or an external investigation.
The SHA’s board documents say NHS Portsmouth has missed targets on 18-week cancer care, strokes and accident and emergency attendances.
If it goes ahead the PCT will become the only one in the region to have “in intervention” status. NHS Oxfordshire was lifted out of the status in March. NHS Hampshire and NHS Berkshire East have both been categorised as underperforming for the past three months after missing the same targets as Portsmouth.
A spokesman for Portsmouth City PCT said: “We fully recognise that the challenges raised by the report are significant and that there is a need to ensure that action is taken rapidly to address them.
“We will await and fully co-operate with any additional demands that the SHA might require from us.”
The local acute trust, Portsmouth Hospitals Trust is also facing difficulties and ended the financial year with a £14.8m deficit, £5.8m worse than planned.
A spokeswoman for the trust said it “required some financial cash support in this difficult period” and was asking the Department of Health for that.
Minutes of the trust’s March meeting said 40 patients a week were subject to delays in being transferred to more suitable care settings and roughly another 40 were “in the trust’s beds inappropriately for reasons outside of the trust’s control”.
SHAs set their own performance frameworks for their PCTs.
Primary Care Trust Network director David Stout said the previous government had been planning a national performance framework for PCTs similar to that for acute trusts, but that it was unclear whether these plans would still be pursued by the DH under the new government.