Frontline NHS Tayside staff have been praised for their hard work and commitment in keeping health services going over winter amid high demand.
Grant Archibald, chief executive of the health board, recognised the efforts of staff who kept waiting times at a minimum in recent weeks and months at a public meeting.
Swathes of recent data published by NHS Scotland show that Tayside coped well with the additional risks that winter brings such as adverse weather, flu bugs and norovirus.
The board was boosted by £754,000 of Scottish Government funding – part of a £10 million package for health boards across the country to keep services running.
Across December and January there were 5,297 bed days lost to delayed discharge – around a quarter less than five years ago.
And just 1.45% of planned elective operations were cancelled for capacity reasons, down from 4.6% for the same time period across 2015-2016.
Waiting times at A&E, for which newer figures are available, have remained strong over the colder months, with 96.5% of patients seen within four hours from December 1 to February 23.
Mr Archibald told the board: “The whole NHS Tayside team, from emergency medicine to the acute medical units to all our wards and departments and those working across our communities, has worked very hard to provide excellent care to all patients.
“The board has regularly been the best performing board in its performance in emergency medicine. I am extremely proud of this performance which is a result of the dedicated staff.
“When hard working, committed people come together we get what we aspire to – the best services for patients.”
The health board has historically fallen victim to bugs and other seasonal maladies due to a lack of planning – but launched a service-wide winter plan in 2018 powered by £740,000 of government funding to halt disruption.
The most recent plan was targeted towards community-based care, with health and social care partnerships drafted in to keep people out of hospital where possible and additional cash splashed on out-of-hour GP clinics.