PERFORMANCE: NHS Southampton is above target on all its acute activity measures after entering into an agreement with its main provider to reduce waiting times.

The commissioner reported that in the year to October 2011 the number of outpatient referrals from GPs was 18 per cent higher than planned, while referrals from elsewhere were more than 15 per cent higher than planned.

There were 25 per cent more first outpatient attendances in the year to October than planned, and that figure hit 31 per cent for the final month of this period. Meanwhile, total elective general and acute “first finished consultant episodes” were 14 per cent over plan.

The only indicator showing any improvement was elective day cases, which were 6 per cent under plan in October, although the total for the year was still 3 per cent over target. It was the only one of seven measures rated amber, with the rest red.

An NHS Southampton spokeswoman told HSJ the figures were “influenced” by an agreement with University Hospital Southampton Foundation Trust “to significantly reduce the numbers of patients waiting for their treatment and the lengths they wait”.

The agreement was made during 2011-12 and so was not reflected in the PCT’s targets.

The spokeswoman added that Southampton City clinical commissioning group had developed a “remedial action plan”, including work on oral surgery, ear nose and throat, orthopaedics and ophthalmology.

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