Bradford and district's hospitals are among the best in the country, the Telegraph & Argus can reveal.

Accident and emergency departments in the district have shorter waiting times than many other parts of the UK, according to new performance tables.

A major review of hospital services across Bradford, published today in the T&A's Your Hospital 2002 guide, reveals Bradford hospitals are performing well across the board. Councillor John Ryan, chairman of the Bradford Hospitals NHS Trust, said the results reflected the "high quality service" on offer.

"This is good news and reflects what other surveys and Government statistics have shown," he said. "Bradford hospitals do extremely well to deliver high quality services under a great deal of pressure because the Accident & Emergency department in Bradford is one of the busiest in the country."

The Government's NHS plan states that patients should not wait longer than four hours in A&E from arrival to admission, transfer or discharge.

In the country as a whole 78 per cent of patients are treated within four hours but in the Bradford district all hospitals exceed the target.

Airedale General Hospital in Steeton, topped the league with all its patients being treated, discharged or transferred within four hours.

Bradford Royal Infirmary, with its new A&E department, opened in 2000, also performs well with 91 per cent.

In Calderdale Royal Infirmary, Halifax, the figure is 99 per cent and at Dewsbury District Hospital 93 per cent.

Today's guide has been compiled in association with Dr Foster, Britain's first independent publisher of health care service information.

It provides patients with information that will help them make better-informed decisions about their hospital treatment, or their referral in consultation with their GP.

One of the key measures used in the guide is the mortality index for each hospital.

The national mortality rate is 100 with any number below this being better than average. This is based on the number of people with serious diagnoses who die in hospital.

Hospitals in the district perform well on this measure, too. The regional average is 90. Airedale General Hospital, Keighley, performs the best on this measure with a mortality rate of 83.

The number of doctors working in a trust has been found to be one of the most important factors affecting the mortality rate. The number of nurses working in each trust was not found to have an impact on mortality rates, but it may have an impact on the quality of patient care.

Bradford has a regional average of 36 doctors per 100 beds compared with the national average of 31. Leeds General Infirmary, Leeds, and St James's University Hospital, Leeds, both have a higher than average staffing level with 42 doctors per 100 beds.

Leeds General Infirmary and St James's University Hospital also both have the best staffing levels in the region for nurses per 100 beds with 137. This compares favourably with the national average of 118.

Sir Donald Irvine, formerly President of the General Medical Council and a member of the Dr Foster Ethics Committee, has described the guide as "the most authoritative and accurate assessment of hospital standards".

Roger Taylor, Dr Foster Guide editor, said: "Your Hospital 2002 provides patients, in consultation with their GPs, a better idea of what their local hospitals do and an understanding of the quality of service the hospitals aim to provide."

And Coun Ryan said its findings reflected the hard work of hospital staff.

He said: "They are able to sustain a high quality of service and speedy turn around within the circumstances which is extremely good.

"On the whole, the local population get a good deal from their hospitals and I have to say that Bradford people are very proud of their health services."

John Damman, director of corporate affairs at Bradford Hospitals NHS Trust, said: "We're extremely pleased that as a Trust we are performing very well."