I suspect there is a disproportionate impact on small rural trusts in the context of this story which tells us:
Hospitals in England will be fined for failing to meet “impossible” targets on patient care within weeks, in a scheme criticised by NHS trust bosses as “mad, wrong and unfair”.
NHS England is facing calls to urgently rethink plans to impose financial penalties on trusts that fail to return non-emergency operations to near-normal levels by the end of this month.
The directive, which has sparked alarm among regional public health directors and local councils, was issued to hospitals in August and is still going ahead despite a resurgence of coronavirus cases that threatens to seriously disrupt the NHS this winter.
Chris Hopson, the chief executive of NHS Providers, which represents hospital trusts in England, said he had raised the issue urgently with NHS England and NHS Improvement, the body responsible for overseeing foundation trusts, following concerns raised by trust bosses.
“It would be mad, wrong and unfair to penalise hospitals for failing to reach targets that it was impossible for them to meet,” he said.
There is growing concern that the sharply rising number of coronavirus patients in England’s hospitals will undermine their ability to provide non-Covid care and tackle waiting lists for non-urgent care. On Thursday, 609 Covid patients were admitted to hospital, while government officials said the number of people in intensive care would pass its April peak in 21 days in parts of northern England if the current trajectory did not change.