WARRINGTON Hospital chief executive Mel Pickup said it was a ‘pleasant surprise’ answering a congratulatory call from the health secretary Jeremy Hunt last week.

Miss Pickup received the call following a good performance from the town’s A&E unit in the run up to and over Christmas.

She added: “It has been well documented in the press that he had been personally calling chief executives of a number of trusts experiencing difficulties with their A&E performances so a call of praise was welcomed.

“Our performance has been down to the meticulous planning and work we have done with our partners i.e. the community, primary care and local authorities to reduce admission rates to hospital and manage patients more effectively within the community.

“None of this would have been possible without the hard work and dedication of all our staff.”