PATIENTS due for a hospital stay will be able to see levels of infection and how many nurses are working on each ward at Sunderland Royal from this week.
Notice boards have gone up next to the entrance to each in-patient unit with information detailing how many nurses and healthcare assistants bosses have planned to have working there, along with the actual number working on that day.
Updated three times a day, they also show whether any patients have fallen or developed an infection during their stay.
The changes come in the wake of a review following the serious failings of the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, where many patients were found to have received shockingly inadequate care.
The NHS has developed the Open and Honest Care Initiative in order to avoid repeat mistakes.
Head of nursing and patient experience at the hospital, Julie McDonald, today said: “The NHS is committed to being more open and honest with the public.
“We’ve had to put systems in place to collect the data but the big challenge is understanding it.
“Some people might see that we have planned to have three nurses on duty on a certain ward but there are only two.
“But that will still be a safe number because maybe there are fewer patients on the ward than there were earlier.”
Sister Wendy Huskinson, in charge of ward D44 at the Royal, which looks after those patients who are having head and neck surgery said: “Because the board near to the entrance this will be the first thing that patients coming onto the ward will see.
“We’ll be able to show how the ward flexes up and down depending on the number of patients we have at any given time.”
Bosses at the Royal say they have ploughed £2million into employing more than more than 70 nurses and healthcare staff over the past year, in a bid to ensure staffing levels are up to national expectations of safety.
City Hospitals Sunderland currently has more than 1,500 registered nurses and almost 700 healthcare assistants.
As well as the boards, data from each ward is to be uploaded to the NHS Choices website at www.nhs.uk where it can be compared with other trusts across the country.
As well as the number of staff, information such as how many patients have fallen will also be included, as will the scores from the NHS Friends and Family Test.
Recent guidelines suggested that patients could be put at risk if one nurse has to care for more than eight people on a ward during a day shift, although as yet there is no set standard.