Hartlepool’s hospital trust has been named the best in the country for its A&E performance.
North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust was ranked first out of 131 trusts nationally for seeing patients within four hours of arriving at its Accident and Emergency care department in March.
It achieved 97.8% against the NHS target of 95%.
Health chiefs say it is down to the success of their integrated Urgent and Emergency Care service which launched in April 2017.
It saw the creation of GP-led 24/7 Urgent Care units at the University Hospital of Hartlepool and also North Tees by helping prevent patients going to A&E who do not need to.
The service is run by the trust, in alliance with the North East Ambulance Service and Hartlepool and Stockton Health GP Federation.
Julie Gillon, Chief Executive of North Tees and Hartlepool Trust, said: “We are extremely proud of the high quality care we provide as part of our integrated urgent and emergency care service.
“The innovative alliance model we have with the regional ambulance service and the local GP federation has proved to be a huge success.
“Over the last year we have consistently been one of the top performing health trusts in the country for emergency care.
“This is in no small part down to the success of our integrated service. Patients are being cared for in the right place at the right time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“There is so much truly fantastic work going on across our trust as well as across the whole NHS – we are proud to be piloting the new standard, which we hope will allow for even further improvement at a local and national level.”
The urgent care units provide walk-in services, bookable appointments through 111 and an out of hours home visiting provision.
The trust is one of 14 nationally who are taking part in a pilot of a new A&E standard from May 1.
It focuses on treatment of the sickest patients within the first hour of attending A&E.
It is said to give a more complete measure of the total time spent within the Emergency Care department, rather than measuring time to treatment.
The current four-hour government target aims to ensure all patients are treated, admitted or transferred within four hours of arrival.