As hospitals around the country struggle to cope with A&E pressures over the Christmas period, one hospital has reported that it has managed to beat the NHS England targets.
During the second week of December, South Tyneside District Hospital managed to treat 96.8 per cent of its A&E patients within four hours of them being admitted. This puts it comfortably above the target which calls for at least 95 per cent of patients to be seen within the four-hour window.
Helen Ray, chief operating officer of South Tyneside's NHS Foundation Trust, spoke to the Shields Gazette about the achievement: "We always do everything we can to minimise the time patients wait to be seen, and we are proud of our track record."
She added that the hospital has achieved the four-hour target "every year for the past five years", even with the additional pressure of an increase in A&E activity of 21 per cent since 2008. In real figures this means that in the 2008-09 year the department saw 49,340 people but by 2012-13 this figure had risen to 59,892.
The latest data set shows that South Tyneside is currently the exception to the rule, with overall figures for NHS patients in England showing that 94.8 per cent of people were treated within the target time.
These figures were skewed by data for major hospital accident and emergency wards where only 92.2 per cent of patients were seen within the four hours.
South Tyneside District Hospital was voted as one of the Top 40 Hospitals in the country in the latest independent benchmark from CHKS. The result marks the seventh time in the last eight years that South Tyneside has made the cut.
In addition to a busy A&E department the service provides maternity, general and paediatric beds, alongside general secondary car, such as cancer services and rehabilitation treatment.