THE Royal Bolton’s A&E department continues to perform well in the winter months — but the number of patients readmitted to hospital is still a problem.

The emergency department achieved its four hour waiting target again in January with 96.3 per cent of patients being seen on time.

But the number of patients being discharged then re-admitted — 12.2 per cent — to the Royal Bolton has breached its eight per cent target.

Andy Ennis, chief operating officer at the Bolton NHS Foundation Trust, told the board: “Our A&E performance remains good apart from a couple of days when we did have a slight blip.

“The good thing is that the department seems to recover quite quickly from the bad days.”

Mr Ennis went on to explain that the number of patients readmitted to hospital was lower than the regional average but improvements still needed to be made.

He added: “Regionally and nationally we are bench-marking reasonably well but it is an extremely tough target to hit.”

Jackie Bene, chief executive of the trust, said: “We must take note of the target because the length of stay and readmission is a marker of effectiveness.”

In December the trust — which runs the Royal Bolton Hospital — recorded its best month of the financial year with 98.2 per cent of patients being seen within four hours, making it one of the best performing in the country.

During the financial year 201/13, the Royal Bolton’s A&E unit saw a 4.7 per cent increase in attendance and saw 115,936 patients compared to 110,738 the previous year.

This is approximately 317 patients per day and makes it the second busiest in Greater Manchester.

Children under nine years of age made up 17.2 per cent of all attendances to the Bolton department — prompting a campaign from health commissioners to drive down numbers.