POOLE Hospital has been named as one of only six hospitals in the country providing emergency care better than expected by patients.

Based on surveys of patients using accident and emergency services, regulator Care Quality Commission found the hospital to be among the top performing in the country.

It comes just weeks after health chiefs unanimously decided Poole Hospital A&E will close and instead Royal Bournemouth Hospital will become the major emergency centre for east Dorset leaving Poole for planned care.

It is part of NHS Dorset CCG's controversial Clinical Services Review.

Patients were asked a range of questions, including their overall experience of emergency departments. Respondents gave the department a rating of 8.6 out of 10 for their overall experience there. Patients also rated the service 9.3 out of 10 for being treated with dignity and respect and 8.5 for care and treatment.

Geoffrey Walker, matron for emergency services at Poole Hospital, said staff are delighted.

He said: “We’re a busy department seeing more and more patients, so to receive this verdict is fantastic news.

“We work hard on providing a service that we would be proud to offer to our own friends and family and it is extremely rewarding that patients have given us this rating. To be among the best six A&E departments in the country for patients’ overall experience is an outstanding achievement.”

Royal Bournemouth Hospital also scored highly with ratings including 8.3 out of 10 for its overall experience and 9.1 out of 10 for respect and dignity and 8.2 for care and treatment.

Waiting times were the worst category for both hospitals with Poole Hospital and Royal Bournemouth Hospital both rated 6.4 out of 10.

Professor Ted Baker, CQC’s Chief Inspector of Hospitals, said: "This year’s survey shows some very positive results.

"The fact that the majority of people reported a good overall experience is testament to the efforts and dedication of the frontline staff working in emergency departments across the country to ensure that people receive the care and treatment they need. Those staff should be proud of their achievements.

“The challenge of increased attendances puts huge pressure on emergency departments. The survey questions where patients responded less positively such as waiting times, discharge arrangements and access to timely pain relief are concerning at a time of increased demand when staff are at full stretch.

“I would like trusts to reflect on their survey results to understand what their patients really think about the care and treatment they provide. This will help them to identify where they may be able to take learning from other trusts to support improvements, particularly where that has involved collaboration with other local services to better manage capacity and improve discharge arrangements.

“Gathering feedback from people who use services is an important part of regulation. This year’s survey findings will to feed into our future inspection activity and our ongoing monitoring of the quality of care.”