LEIGHTON Hospital’s A&E department has coped with the early winter months better in 2018-19 than last year, directors have been told.

Figures presented to the Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust board on Monday show that 88 per cent of patients were dealt with within the target four hours in November 2018.

That percentage was the same as in November 2017 – but Leighton’s A&E had 7,439 patients in November 2018, 320 more than in the same month a year earlier.

Chris Oliver, chief operating officer at the trust, also told the board that the figure for December stood at 84 per cent – an improvement of 10 per cent over the figure for December 2017.

Looking to this month, he added: “We had a tough weekend, but it is still an improved position for us over last year.”

Leighton Hospital bosses said the A&E unit had record-breaking levels of demand last winter, and the trust spent much of 2018 working on detailed preparation for this winter.

However, the department has failed to meet the national target of 95 per cent of A&E patients being dealt with within four hours every month since August 2017.