A hospital trust was able to hit only 29 per cent of its performance targets during the past year because of the “substantial” impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

North Middlesex University Hospital Trust’s annual report reveals it met five of 17 performance standards after being forced to cancel routine and elective non-cancer activity to deal with Covid-19 cases.

The proportion of patients waiting under 18 weeks to be treated – the ‘referral to treatment’ (RTT) time – was 79.8 per cent in 2020/21, well below the trust’s target of more than 92 per cent.

Performance against a 62-day standard from a GP referral to a patient’s first cancer treatment was 51.5 per cent. The trust had been aiming to hit a target of 85 per cent or above.

The trust also failed to hit two-week wait targets for urgent referrals for those with suspected cancers and patients with breast cancer symptoms. The standards were met in 59.8 per cent and 38.1 per cent of cases respectively in 2020/21, against targets of 93 per cent.

North Middlesex University Hospital in Sterling Way, Edmonton, provides hospital care and community services for more than 600,000 people living in Enfield, Haringey and neighbouring boroughs such as Barnet. 

The annual report also reveals the work done by the NHS trust to deal with the pandemic. It carried out nearly 83,000 Covid-19 tests, administered more than 12,700 doses of coronavirus vaccinations in its mass vaccination hub and almost 11,400 doses in its hospital hub.

It also introduced new measures, such as mobile cancer care units, to allow patients to be cared for outside of hospital. 

During the trust’s annual general meeting on Thursday, September 2, chief executive Dr Nnenna Osuji said staff had been “incredible” and had “gone above and beyond time and time again”.

She said: “We never closed our doors to any urgent need. That included patients with cancer, for whom we provided two mobile units on site so that we could continue providing up to 20 chemotherapy sessions a day.”

Dr Osuji also said innovations in radiotherapy had reduced the number of sessions from 20-30 to just five, reducing the contact patients needed to have with the hospital.

The hospital trust, which is currently rated ‘requires improvement’ by health watchdog the Care Quality Commission, has also adopted a “patient first” improvement plan, which the report says will deliver “measurable improvements for our patients and staff”.