Department of Health and Social Care
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Work begins to eliminate mixed sex accommodation in NHS

Work begins to eliminate mixed sex accommodation in NHS

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH News Release issued by COI News Distribution Service on 5 May 2009

Building work to continue the progress made and finally eliminate mixed-sex accommodation in hospitals across England has started with over 700 projects planned across 200 organisations, Health Secretary Alan Johnson announced today.

The work is part of the government's pledge to ensure that men and women will not have to share sleeping areas, bathrooms or toilets when admitted to hospital and that their privacy and dignity is upheld whenever possible.

Some improvement works started in April after Alan Johnson allocated a £100 million Privacy and Dignity Fund to all Strategic Health Authorities (SHAs) in England. This followed approval of their plans on how best to eliminate mixed sex accommodation in hospitals in their areas.

Approximately £40 million of the funding has been allocated for new and refurbished same-sex sanitary facilities such as bathrooms, with the remainder spent on other work including:
* Erecting separating walls
* Provision of same-sex lounges,
* Improved partitions
* Approved pan-trust bed management systems.

Health Secretary Alan Johnson said:

"We have made great progress, however our message is clear- over the coming months we only expect to see mixed sex accommodation where it is clinically justified and from next year those trusts who fail in this duty will be financially penalised.

"It is simply unacceptable for top quality treatment by our finest surgeons, doctors and nurses to be undermined by a sub-standard mixed sex environment that patients find unsettling, uncomfortable and undignified.

"We are committed to providing patients with high quality care that is safe, effective and which puts a patient's privacy and dignity at its core. Everyone working within the NHS has a clear duty to ensure that this is not just implemented, but maintained."

r Peter Carter, Chief Executive & General Secretary of the Royal
College of Nursing (RCN), said:

"Nurses strive to provide high quality, dignified care at all times, but
mixed sex wards have often been a major obstacle. Eliminating mixed sex accommodation would be a hugely significant step towards dignified patient care for all."

To ensure that the improvements are delivered to a high standard and on time; a national improvement team has been set up to support hospitals and monitor all improvement works.


Notes to Editors:

1. In January 2009 Health Secretary, Alan Johnson announced a six-month intensive drive to 'all but eliminate' mixed sex accommodation and a packet of measures including:

- Financial penalties for those hospitals where patients are treated in mixed sex accommodation - unless it can be clinically justified
- A 100 million Privacy and Dignity Fund to help trusts make swift adjustments to patient experience
- Improvement teams to be set up to go into hospitals that need support during the process
- A greater focus on measuring and improving patient experience of mixed sex accommodation
* We recognise that there are times when the need to treat and admit can override the need for complete segregation. This might apply, for instance, with:
- A patient needing very high-tech care, with one-to-one nursing (e.g. ICU, HDU);
- A patient needing very specialised care, where one nurse might be caring for a small number of patients; and
- A patient needing very urgent care (e.g. rapid admission following heart attack).
Where mixing does occur it must be justifiable for all the patients affected. There are no blanket exemptions for particular specialties, and no exemptions at all from the need to provide high standards of privacy and dignity at all times.

Allocation of Funding to SHAs:

South Central SHA

Allocation: £6.8m

South Central is running approximately 44 projects across 16 organisations mostly in Acute Trusts including Foundation Trusts (FTs) but also some Mental Health (MH) and Community trusts. Almost half of the projects relate to the provision or refurbishment of bathrooms and WCs, other projects include the purchase of screens, new / replacement signs, erecting separating walls between main corridors and bedded areas, provision of 'women' only lounges and improved information to staff, the public and patients.

Yorkshire & Humber SHA

Allocation: £10.5m

Yorkshire & Humber are running approximately 42 projects across 24 organisations, mostly in Acute Trusts including FTs, but also some PCTs and a MH Trust. Just over a third of the projects relate to the provision or refurbishment of bathrooms and WCs; other projects include improved information for staff, the public and patients; refurbishment of nightingale wards providing increased single rooms; improved male & female segregation in A&E observation areas; improved partitions; reconfiguration of renal in-patient accommodation; creation of a single gender adolescent facility and improved pan-trust bed management systems.


South East Coast SHA

Allocation: £7.8m

South East Coast is running approximately 62 projects across 23 organisations, mostly in Acute Trusts including FTs, but also some PCTs and MH Trusts. Just over a quarter of the projects relate to the provision or refurbishment of bathrooms and WCs; other projects include replacement of old curtains, work to improve visual and physical segregation of male and female patients; purchase and implementation of a management information module for the hospital PAS system; conversion of office to create new clinical room for intimate clinical procedures; addition of sliding doors to bays; convert mixed sex nightingale wards to same sex and additional clinical coordinators for operational team to optimise patient allocation.


North West SHA

Allocation: £14.8m

North West is running approximately 112 projects across 34 organisations, mostly in Acute Trusts including FTs, but also some PCTs and MH Trusts. Just over a quarter of the projects relate to the provision or refurbishment of bathrooms and WCs, other projects include doors across bays, re-modelling bed capacity, new screens, provision of curtains and tracks, education and training for staff, new signage, segregation of patients in emergency surgical unit, purpose built unit with single rooms and a day area for adolescents.

North East SHA

Allocation: £5.7m

North East is running approximately 43 projects across 10 organisations, mostly in Acute Trusts including FTs, but also a MH Trust. Just over a third of the projects relate to the provision or refurbishment of bathrooms and WCs, other projects include improving publicity for patients and the public, expanding medical assessment unit to increase facility for single sex accommodation, new partitions and screens, new signage, developing a user/carer survey and a bedside management alert system to indicate breaches.

West Midlands SHA

Allocation: £10.8m

West Midlands are running approximately 91 projects across 29 organisations, mostly in Acute Trusts including FTs, but also PCTs and MH Trusts. Just over a third of the projects relate to the provision or refurbishment of bathrooms and WCs; other projects include new day rooms and interview rooms; fitting robust partitions to bays; curtains in theatre recovery; rebuild and redesign of wards; new signage; convert bedded spaces to bathrooms; male & female waiting areas and treatment facilities to day procedures unit; staff training and separate male & female wings for long stay learning disabilities patients.

East Midlands SHA

Allocation: £8.4m

East Midlands are running approximately 36 projects across 13 organisations, mostly in Acute Trusts including FTs, but also MH Trusts. Just over a quarter of the projects relate to the provision or refurbishment of bathrooms and WCs; other projects include improved signage; improved communications with staff and patients; installing window film to reduce overlooking into patient sleeping areas; alter location of corridor doors to provide women only areas; additional wall to bed bays to improve segregation; introduce pilot for ward hostesses to 'meet and greet' patients; improve single sex accommodation on the surgical admissions ward and the purchase of new curtains.

London SHA

Allocation: £15.3m

London is running approximately 53 projects across 26 organisations, mostly in Acute Trusts including FTs, but also MH Trusts. Just over a quarter of the projects relate to the provision or refurbishment of bathrooms and WCs. Other projects include privacy curtains, partitions to bays, installing sliding doors to 4-bedded bays, new patient monitoring equipment to admissions ward, new signage and change of use of storeroom to 2 bedded ensuite bays.

South West SHA

Allocation: £9.6m

South West is running approximately 172 projects across 18 organisations, mostly in Acute Trusts including FTs, but also MH Trusts. Just over half of the projects relate to the provision or refurbishment of bathrooms and WCs. Other projects include new curtains, converting storeroom into shower room, upgrading door locks and privacy screens, glazed screens for HDU beds, redesign and rebuild interior structures to eliminate mixed sex accommodation, improved signage, electronic bed boards for bed management system, new staff operated vision panels, patient leaflets and the appointment of fixed term champions / patient flow coordinators.


East of England SHA

Allocation: £10.3m

East of England is running approximately 51 projects across 23 organisations, mostly in Acute Trusts including FTs, but also MH Trusts. Well over half of the projects relate to the provision or refurbishment of bathrooms and WCs. Other projects include staff, patient and public comms, new screens and partitions, new signage, new ward in emergency assessment unit, converting wards into male & female areas, partitioning in day rooms to prevent overlooking sleeping areas and female only lounges.

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