THE Royal Bolton Hospital is leading the way for performance in Accident and Emergency for the region — despite seeing an annual increase of nearly 20 per cent in patients.

Acting chief executive of the Bolton NHS Foundation Trust, Dr Jackie Bene, a consultant and former medical director at the Royal Bolton, said the hospital was among the best performers in the region for A&E after the watchdog, Monitor, an independent regulator of NHS foundation trusts, passed the department on three-quarterly performance indicators.

The period between October and December A&E at the Royal Bolton Hospital received a 96 per cent rating.

Hospital bosses expect the final quarter will also be passed.

Dr Bene said: “Everybody has made considerable effort across the organisation and in the community, including with people who don’t really need to come to hospital and discharging people early.

“A real heroic effort has been made by everybody.”

Trust chairman David Wakefield said the hospital had seen a nine per cent increase in people attending A&E in October last year, compared to figures for October, 2011.

Mr Wakefield added: “I don’t know what is going on in the country but they are turning up at A&E in their droves. It’s probably an increase of 20 per cent year on year. It’s a very busy unit.”

Cllr Andy Morgan, a member of Bolton Council's health, overview and scrutiny committee, said the success of the A&E department needed to be applauded.

He added: “It’s a real achievement for A&E, especially with the pressures they have been under.

“The work the staff are doing in A&E is just amazing and with the pressures of workload and on managers to keep financial control. Staff need to be commended for that.”