Airedale Hospital’s accident and emergency department has received top marks in a survey by independent watchdog the Healthcare Commission.

The department was praised for high quality care and low waiting times.

Expert staff were applauded for devoting time to each patient to fully meet their needs and keeping patients well informed throughout their treatment.

And the survey — which nationally involved 151 acute NHS trusts and received responses from nearly 50,000 patients, aged 16 and over — cited Airedale’s clean and safe environment.

Gavin Anderson, accident and emergency matron with Airedale NHS Trust, said: “Where we stand out is the fact that A&E is also our own local A&E and our staff want to make a difference. It is a local service for local people — our staff live in the area and want to provide the best possible service. Our staff are really dedicated to the patients and their service and that makes the difference.”

He added: “We appreciate that we don’t always meet everyone’s expectations but we would like to explain that this is because sometimes we are working under very difficult circumstances with overwhelming demand — a cold or icy patch of weather leads to a real increase in accidents and broken limbs. However, we do always try our utmost for our patients.”

Airedale Hospital’s A&E department deals on average with 150 patients a day and more in winter.

In the past year it has exceeded the national target — of 98 per cent — for patients to be seen, treated and discharged within four hours of arrival.