PERFORMANCE: Trusts across the Staffordshire primary care trust cluster have agreed to allocate £6.5m additional funding in an attempt to reduce a referral backlog.

Organisations around the county are struggling to meet the 18 week referral to treatment time target, a cluster-wide performance report due to be put before the South Staffordshire PCT board meeting on May 18 showed.

NHS Stoke on Trent, NHS North Staffordshire and University Hospital of North Staffordshire were all challenged on the issue, the report said.

An additional £6.5m has been found across all commissioners to enable North Staffordshire hospital to achieve and maintain their 18 weeks position. Any leftover cash will be allocated to other providers, to enable them to achieve the 18 week target for all specialisms.

A waiting list backlog has mounted up, particularly in trauma and orthopaedics and gynaecology, the report said, though progress has been made in reducing it. The backlog had fallen from 1,427 to 737 as of April 10.