Norfolk and Norwich Hospital probe after targets missed

Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital Image copyright PA
Image caption Monitor said the Norfolk and Norwich Hospitals Trust missed targets in accident and emergency, and cancer care

An inquiry into the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals Trust has been launched after it missed key waiting time targets in accident and emergency and cancer care.

NHS regulator Monitor said it wants to know if there were wider problems with the way the trust is run.

The hospital said it shares Monitor's concerns and is taking action.

In October, 87% of patients at accident and emergency were treated within four hours, missing the target of 95%.

Figures on cancer care show in the third quarter of 2014-15 only 66% of patients were treated at hospital within 62 days from the time of referral by their doctor, compared with a government target of 85%.

Laura Mills, deputy regional director at Monitor, said: "Some patients are waiting too long for treatment at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals and this has given Monitor cause for concern."

Image caption The Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust is based at Hellesdon Hospital, near Norwich

Anna Dugdale, chief executive of Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH), said: "It is apparent that the twin issues of increased emergency demand and record levels of delayed discharges from hospital are ones that affect the healthcare system as a whole. We share Monitor's concern about the pressures that these are placing on the hospital and its staff.

"It is a situation that the trust board anticipated and has been discussing with commissioners and others for many months, in order to ensure that appropriate actions are put in place."

Monitor also confirmed it had launched an investigation into the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT), which runs mental health services, revealed by the BBC on Wednesday.

Image caption Michael Scott, the chief executive of the NSFT, has called for parity of funding between mental health trusts and mainstream hospitals

The investigation follows the trust reporting an unplanned deficit of £1.7m and a recent external review identifying concerns about the way the trust is run.

Mrs Mills added: "We are taking a closer look at Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust to understand the way the board works and why the trust is making such a big loss.

"The aim of the investigation is to get to the bottom of these issues and to understand whether or not we need to step in."

NSFT chief executive Michael Scott said: "There are particular funding problems facing us in mental health and we welcome Monitor's review."

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