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Leeds health bosses face £2.2m fine for missed targets

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Leeds hospitals could be fined £2m for missing waiting time targets and the number of cases of a superbug.

Bosses at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust are estimating facing a £2.2m fine for the financial year 2013/14 after the Government-imposed targets were exceeded.

As previously reported in the Yorkshire Evening Post, the trust which runs all the city’s hospitals has struggled to meet a waiting time target which says 90 per cent of patients are treated within 18 weeks of being referred by their GP.

After missing their own deadlines to resolve the issue twice before, they now say they are on track to treat 90 per cent of patients within the guidelines by the end of May.

But the previous failure has led regional health bosses to threaten to impose the fines.

In a report to hospital directors, director of finance Tony Whitfield said that NHS England intended to levy penalties for missing the 18 week target.

They are also set to penalise the hospitals trust for exceeding a target on the number of cases of the hospital bug C.difficile.

He said this penalty would apply if the number of cases for the financial year was greater than 130, after a review.

“ The total to February, before review, was already 135.” he said, in a report dealing with both issues.

“The penalty value currently included in the trust forecast for this is £2.2m.”

The agreed number of C.diff cases for the year was 94, though compared to the same point last year, there have been 6 per cent fewer incidences.

Hospital directors heard that talks have been under way so that next year, cases which were unavoidable or cases where the patient did not require treatment would not count towards the numbers.

The allowed number for next year has been raised and financial penalties have been reduced.

Efforts to meet the 18 weeks target have been underway since 2012 and the current action plan involves reducing the number of patients who had waited more than 18 weeks to 420 by the end of May, which means the target would be hit.

Sending patients for private treatment and looking at doing more on weekends are among the measures being used.

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