A NORTH East Trust is celebrating after being named the best in the country for it's Accident and Emergency Service.

North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust was ranked number one out of 131 Trusts across Britain for seeing nearly all patients within four hours of arriving at its Accident and Emergency care departments.

In March the Trust achieved 97.8 per cent of patients seen within four hours, against the national care target of 95 per cent.

North Tees and Hartlepool has consistently been a high performer and says it owes its success to the systems developed over the past two years since April 2017 in building up integrated Urgent and Emergency Care.

The system is run together with the North East Ambulance Service and Hartlepool and Stockton Health GP Federation to provide fast and effective front line care.

The service operates two Urgent Care centres in Hartlepool and at the University Hospital of North Tees in Stockton. Through this they can provide walk in provision, directly bookable appointments through the non-emergency medical helpline111 and also through the out of hours home visiting service.

As part of this the North Tees site is directly connected to the Emergency Care Unit which means that patients requiring emergency treatment are triaged at the front of house and streamed into the most relevant area of care to ensure they get the most appropriate care available in the shortest possible time.

The four hour standard is a national target brought in by the government to ensure that all patients are treated, admitted or transferred within four hours of arriving at Accident and Emergency. The aim is to ensure that every single patient requiring emergency care receives it as quickly as possible.

In a new development the Trust is one of 14 across the country who are taking part in the pilot of an updated Accident and Emergency standard from May 1.

This proposed new standard focuses on treatment of the sickest patients within the first hour of attending A and E departments. Managers say it’s a more complete measure of the total time spent within the Emergency Care department, rather than measuring time to treatment.

The Trust's Chief Executive Julie Gillon 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."

Last year North Tees was rated good by the Care Quality Commission with elements of the urgent and emergency care service rated outstanding. Inspectors said staff were seen to go the extra mile and care and support exceeded good care standards. They said there was overwhelming positivity and pride amongst staff and patients described receiving compassionate care.