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Keen tells nurses to use 'sense' on mixed wards

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Junior health minister Ann Keen has suggested mixed sex wards, which the government pledged to phase out six years ago, would be reduced if nurses used ‘common sense’.

She admitted they were ‘difficult to manage’ in an interview with a consumer magazine, but called on nurses to ‘use good management skills and common sense to make sure that not only is a patient’s medical condition treated promptly but their need for privacy and dignity respected too’.

Liberal Democrat health spokesman Norman Lamb said: ‘It is extraordinary putting the blame on nurses when it is the government which has shamefully failed on its pledge to end mixed sex wards.’

In a clarification to her original comments, Ms Keen added: ‘All staff, whether chief executive, board member or nurse have a responsibility to preserve the privacy and dignity of patients.’

  • 2 Comments

Readers' comments (2)

  • Having worked on a very busy surgical ward for seven years. I have noticed an increase in mixed sexed bays in the past year this is not down to nurses who cannot allocate patients this is down to the reduction in waiting times and the allocations by the hospitals bed managers. With these both adding to a very stressful shift felt by all staff to enable trusts to reach their targets.

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  • Well if the government is insisting that nurses use our common sense isn't it about time they practiced what they preached. Staff and patients have shared their concerns about mixed sex wards for some time but with the ever unrealistic targets and and reduced staffing its a wonder i ever actually get to speak to my patients never mind nurse them or protect their privacy and dignity. Ideally what should happen even from an infection control point is single rooms for patients!!! Well for now i shall stay put in the real world and wait for the government to come out with its next insult to nurses which is adding to an ever decreasing morale amongst my collegues.

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