A SPECIAL national support team has been called in to help Wye Valley NHS Trust (WVT) meet cancer treatment targets.

The Trust  is already “on notice” over its failure to meet two of the nine national targets over recent months.

At the Trust’s invitation, the NHS cancer intensive support team (IST) has been in house auditing cancer procedures and processes.

The team’s report is due out within days.

Performance failures  relating to breast cancer and the two month referral to treatment targets were confirmed to the Trust’s board at its meeting yesterday (Thurs).

Figures for November show  seven out of 60 urgent referral patients with breast symptoms were not seen with the maximum two-week wait for a first outpatient appointment.

All of the seven were patients at WVT which said that three of the breaches related to “capacity issues” with four down to patient choice.

In October, 11 out of 62 patients didn’t make the two month (62-day) target from urgent GP referral to first definitive treatment.

Seven patients were both seen and treated at WVT and four were seen at WVT and treated at other Trusts.

Of the seven at WVT, six were urological cancer patients, and one was a breast cancer patient.
WVT cited capacity issues, patient choice and internal delays as affecting the  majority of these cases.

Yesterday (Thurs) the trust board was told that  breast symptomatic performance has again fallen below threshold in the month with the full year threshold likely to be missed.

Cancer (62 days) remains below threshold in month and year to date.

National performance for October was below target at 84.9% and national performance for November on target at 85% exactly.

The Trust invited the IST visit this month to identify help can be had over the two failing standards. Specialising in urgent and emergency care, elective care and cancer, ISTs focus on improving performance, quality assurance and programme enhancement.

Herefordshire Clinical Commission Group (CCG) - responsible for buying and shaping health and care services for the county – has put  WVT  on a contract notice and rectification plan as a cancer treatment provider.  The target failures were put to the CCG’s governing body earlier this month.

WVT is already in talks with GPs over the failures and a survey aimed at better understanding of patient reasons for declining appointments is planned, with the idea of evening and weekend clinics raised.