Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust faces probe

An NHS trust is facing an investigation into waiting time delays and a rise in cases of the superbug Clostridium difficile (C. diff).

Health service regulator Monitor has announced an investigation into Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

"Patients are waiting too long for some treatments," said Monitor's regional director Robert Davidson.

The trust said it found it "challenging" to meet the targets.

Monitor said it was concerned that the trust - which is responsible for Chorley and South Ribble Hospital, the Royal Preston Hospital and the Specialist Mobility and Rehabilitation Centre across Lancashire - has failed to see some patients within 18 weeks of referral.

'Waiting list challenge'

Mr Davidson said Monitor wants to know why the delays are happening, adding it "will take further action to ensure things are put right, if necessary."

The regulator said no decision had been taken whether further regulatory action is needed.

Karen Partington, chief executive of the trust, said, "We advised Monitor last month that we would not achieve the 18 week referral to treatment standard for the third consecutive quarter.

"We have also reported that we have exceeded our trajectory for the number of cases of Clostridium difficile infections."

She added the trust postponed a number of operations last winter to ease the pressure on its "urgent care services".

"In recent years we have made great progress in significantly reducing hospital acquired infections," Ms Partington added.

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