PERFORMANCE: University Hospitals of North Midlands Trust has been served with performance notices for failing to hit three cancer pathway waiting time targets.

A joint investigation between the trust and its commissioners is currently underway to understand the cause of the underperformance.

Breast cancer radiology

The UHNM chief executive said ‘cancer care continues to be our key priority’

Stoke on Trent Clinical Commissioning Group, which contracts the trust’s cancer services on behalf of the regions commissioners told HSJ the notices had been issued because the trust had been missing its targets since April.

A CCG spokesman said: “Three contract performance notices have been issued in relation to cancer performance by the lead commissioner, on behalf of themselves and the other associate CCGs within the main contract, due to underperformance against two 31 day standards and one of the 62 day operational performance standards since 15 April.

“A joint investigation is currently being led on behalf of all commissioners, in partnership with the manager of UHNM cancer services and supported by the trust and local GP leads.

“The main the focus of the joint investigation is to understand the issues impacting on performance, one of which is demand as the trust continues to experience growth in cancer demand.”

The investigation team is due to report its findings in November. Once the investigation is completed there will either be a recommendation that the performance notices be withdrawn or a ‘remedial action plan’ be drawn up.

University Hospitals of North Midlands submitted a service improvement plan for the 62 day standard at the end of August, according to documents presented to Cannock Chase Clinical Commissioning Group’s board.  

Trust chief executive Mark Hackett said: “The trust is one of many across the country that is working to improve access to cancer care.

“We have seen a considerable increase in demand for our services and are working to ensure the standards are delivered over the next few months by increasing capacity in diagnostics and treatment services.

“Cancer care continues to be our key priority and we are working with commissioners to ensure this standard is met.”