Just three hospital trusts have hit their lowered targets for accident and emergency performance, the latest data reveals.

HSJ compared trusts’ performance in the most recent figures, for January 2017, with the “trajectory” targets from the NHS “reset” document produced by NHS Improvement last July.

These are often lower than the national target to see 95 per cent of A&E patients within four hours.

The news comes after NHS Improvement and NHS England told trust leaders last week the criteria for accessing sustainability and transformation funding would be focused on A&E performance, at the expense of cancer and elective treatment waiting times.

The reset document originally said 70 per cent of the STF available to trusts would be conditional on achieving financial targets, with 30 per cent dependent on performance on the three main performance areas: 10 per cent each on cancer, A&E and elective referral to treatment times.

The latest official data on A&E performance showed the English hospital sector saw only 85.1 per cent of patients within four hours.

Only Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals Trust, Calderdale and Huddersfield Foundation Trust and The Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals FT achieved their reset targets.

Table: Trusts hitting their reset A&E target in January

TrustPatients seen within four hours (%)January reset target (%)
Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals Trust 94.6 94.4
Calderdale and Huddersfield FT 92.2 91.0
The Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals FT 90.9 90.0

Three trusts achieved the 95 per cent target in January:

  • Luton and Dunstable University Hospital FT – 98.5 per cent;
  • Dorset County Hospital FT – 97.2 per cent; and
  • Yeovil District Hospital FT – 95.8 per cent.

However, none of these hit their reset targets, which in some cases are higher than the national standard. Dorset does not have a reset target because it does not plan to accept STF money.

Luton and Dunstable chief executive Pauline Philip was appointed NHS England and NHS Improvement national lead on improving emergency care last week. She had previously been NHS England’s lead on emergency care.

It is not currently clear if there are any financial penalties for trusts that miss their elective waiting time or cancer targets.

HSJ analysis of trusts’ performance against the first month of reset A&E targets in July 2016 showed just under a third of organisations hitting them.

Around that time, NHS Improvement chief executive Jim Mackey suggested insufficient primary care access and the school holidays were factors in the underperformance.

A spokeswoman for NHS Improvement said: ”It has been well documented that this winter has been particularly challenging for the NHS, despite the continued efforts of staff who worked hard to maintain a safe, high quality service for patients.

”We are working with providers to introduce a number of measures over the coming months to ensure they are in the best possible position for next winter. By implementing these measures, we are expecting trusts to achieve performance that is above 90 per cent by September 2017, with the sector as a whole returning to 95 per cent by March 2018.”

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