AN NHS boss has revealed how a trust has taken major strides towards tackling some of the greatest dangers facing patients in hospitals.

Darlington Borough Council’s health and partnerships scrutiny committee heard County Durham & Darlington NHS Foundation Trust had made strong progress in cutting patient falls and lower the number of cases of healthcare associated infection clostridium difficile.

Joanne Todd, the trust’s associate director of nursing, told councillors targeted measures to avert patient falls, such as staff training and education leaflets, had seen incidents drop by more than 30 per cent in the first six months of the year.

She said: “We are really pleased with the progress on falls but it still remains the biggest risk within the hospital environment. Sensory training is very different to what we have done in previous years. Staff actually make themselves feel like they are disabled, they’ll train using things like tunnel-vision glasses and have sweets in their shoes, so awareness is embedded into practise.”

She added clostridium difficile cases had been limited to 13 so far this year, against a “very challenging target of 18”. She said: “What we are very aware of though is that we are coming into winter when there is an increased use of antibiotics and that always has an impact on clostridium difficile rates.”