Hospital staff in Newcastle have been given a double boost after being named the best performing health trust in the country.
Newcastle General was praised for its performance
The Benchmark Award 2003, given by CHKS Ltd, one of the country's largest health assessors, rates the performance of individual acute trusts on 15 key points.
Newcastle has also been shortlisted in the Good Hospital Guide for Hospital of the Year.
Chief executive Len Fenwick said he was "delighted" and it was a credit to the staff working at all three hospitals - the Royal Victoria Infirmary, the Freeman and the General.
Research found Newcastle performed better than all the hospitals in the UK over the last three years, since the award scheme was launched.
The study included 87 trusts nationwide.
'A huge achievement'
The CHKS report is recognised within the health service as one of the most reliable of the annual health league tables.
The main judging criteria include mortality rates, emergency re-admissions, waiting lists, surgical treatments provided to patients over 65 and length of stay in hospital.
Mr Fenwick, who was in Birmingham to receive the award, said: "This is a huge achievement and a tremendous boost for all our staff."
Newcastle is currently a three-star trust, the highest possible Government rating.
There was also good news for Northumbria Healthcare Trust, City Hospitals Sunderland Trust and South Tees Hospitals Trust, who were all named in a list of the top 40 hospitals.