Accident & Emergency 4 hour target

In February 2009 Monitor wrote to 19 foundation trusts who had failed to achieve the A&E target in quarter 3 2008/09 and quarter 3 2007/08. These trusts were asked to set out actions taken following the breach of the target in quarter 3 2007/08, explanations for the subsequent failure to deliver the target in quarter 3 2008/09, and action plans in place to address the issue.

The information was used to inform the development of an A&E escalation policy and a Monitor project to build a better understanding of the causes of shortfalls against the target. Relationship teams will continue to monitor these trusts against their action plans over future quarters and, where appropriate, receive input from the Department of Health intensive support team for emergency services.

Following on from the publication of Monitor’s A&E escalation policy (FT Bulletin - April), the article below summarises findings to date, putting them in the context of the approach Monitor will take to assessing whether a trust escalated under the A&E escalation policy may be in significant breach of its terms of Authorisation.