THE Royal Bolton Hospital’s A&E department is among the best performing in the country, according to health bosses.

Bolton came fifth out of all A&E departments in the UK with 98.2 per cent of patients being seen within the four-hour waiting target.

The result was achieved the week between Monday, January 13, and Sunday, January 19, when 1,959 patients attended A&E.

Bosses at the Bolton NHS Foundation Trust — which runs the hospital — say the figures are a credit to the department.

David Wakefield, chairman of the trust, told board members: “I am pleased to announce our A&E performance was fifth best in the UK last week. Who would have believed that a year ago?”

The number of people attending the casualty department during the week was lower than the national average of 2,170.

Dr Wirin Bhatiani, chairman of NHS Bolton Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “This is a great achievement for the trust and is a testament to the continuing hard work of hospital staff.

“NHS Bolton Clinical Commissioning Group has worked closely with the trust to improve urgent care and commission additional services to alleviate pressure on A&E, as well as other hospital facilities.

“The CCG is currently running a public education campaign to remind people not to attend A&E with minor illnesses and injuries.

“Unnecessary visits to A&E add to the strain on hard working staff and reduce the resources available to treat those who need specialist emergency care.

“Our A&E should only be used for serious and life threatening conditions — let’s keep it for those who really need it.”

Cllr Andy Morgan, who sits on Bolton’s health scrutiny committee, said: “I think it’s an excellent result and a credit to people working hard in community care helping to drive down the number of hospital admissions.”