PERFORMANCE: Problems with theatre staffing and bed capacity have caused a rise in the number of patient waits exceeding the national 18-week threshold, board papers state.

The trust’s latest performance report states that while the trust is “compliant with all three indicators on the Monitor dashboard” relating to 18-week referral-to treatment targets, “there is concern around the on-going pathway where the number of patients exceeding 18 weeks has grown, particularly within the admitted phase”.

It continues: “This is almost entirely due to theatre staffing issues and bed capacity, both of which have resulted in significant loss of patient throughput.

“The theatre staff shortages are mainly in respect of operating department practitioners (ODPs) and operating department assistants (ODAs). In both instances, there are recruitment difficulties within the region, however some appointments have been made and will commence in October.

“Robust action plans are in place, agreed with clinicians, which are projected to stop the number of 18 week breaches from increasing from the end of October.

“Contractual discussions on the impact of these pressures have been scheduled with commissioning colleagues as the trust has had to use unbudgeted resources to maintain the current position.

“The impact on the quality of care provided by utilising agency/temporary staff and the overall quality impact on those waiting longer is of concern and will be mitigated by the actions currently being taken.”