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Mixed sex wards scrapped at 95% of trusts


Most NHS trusts in England have eliminated mixed-sex accommodation, the Government has announced.

Around 95% of trusts have virtually eliminated accommodation that sees men and women being treated together, Health Secretary Andy Burnham said.

Both sexes can still be treated on the same ward in some cases, such as in intensive care or when patients need specialist care in a small group or urgent treatment.

Of the 5% of trusts who have yet to eradicate mixed-sex accommodation, most have action plans in place, Mr Burnham said.

All NHS trusts have been told they must provide accommodation separately for men and women, dividing up bays with either solid walls or full-height partitions. Using curtains to separate bays is not allowed under the rules.

Former health secretary Alan Johnson said in April 2008 that mixed-sex accommodation in the NHS would be abolished within a year, adding the goal was within “touching distance”.

In 2009, he said that from 2010-11 hospitals who fail to eliminate mixed-sex accommodation would be financially penalised.

Today, the Government said the remaining 5% of trusts will face those financial penalties if they do not achieve the goal of separate accommodation.

The trusts’ action plans will be examined and a timeframe agreed within which work must be completed.

However, the Liberal Democrats accused the Government of “ducking real action” on the issue, which was a Labour manifesto commitment in 1997.

Shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley said: “Patients need to be given the dignity they deserve.

“That’s why we’ve set out plans for a massive overhaul of hospital buildings so that every patient who wants one can be given a single room when they go into hospital for planned care.”


Readers' comments (14)

  • 13 years on and this Labour Election pledge has still not been fulfilled! Worrying.

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  • Still have mixed sex wards were i work!.

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  • still have mixed sex wards it depends on how we are for beds if we are short of beds its ok by senior managers to say mix them becouse on paper it looks good for them to be able to say we ve done this and this to make sure we dont close the hosp due to shortage of beds its the hard worked nurses that get all the work having to move beds around trying to keep it single sex not the pen pushing big wigs sat in glass houses

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  • We still have mixed sex wards too. But the Welsh answer to this is??????
    Read on.....
    Cutting the number of beds on the wards, and at the same time increasing the turnover of patients. What is that all about???
    I'm sure patients wouldn't mind bunking in with each other though. What's a bit of mrsa shared amongst friends?

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  • what about the vast army of female nurses handling the male patients?

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  • Vinod, noone ever even considers that as a problem, but god forbid I as a Nurse who happens to be male has to see to a young female or perform a female catheterisation etc etc etc, then everyone gets up on their high horses! Double standards and sexism are alive and well in Nursing!

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  • I 100% agree with vinod, and the anonymous comment, sexism is still in the nursing and double standards is a thing of the norm

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  • Firstly, the article discusses mixed sex wards, not same gender or opposite gender nursing. As we are on the subject, ever since nursing in numbers began, female nurses predominantely cared for male and female patients. I work, and have previously worked with some amazing male nurses, and they take on the same role as I do. Of course male or female, we must gain consent. It is afterall patient preference. I think your both making an issue out of nothing.

    As with the mixed sex wards/bays, we are still very much working with the added pressure of keeping it single sex. I work on an acute surgical admissions unit, taking GP referrals and patients via A&E also. When taking GP calls we are forced to try and avoid A&E often meaning we have patients in the corridor, sisters office for the purpose of admitting processes, and the day room. The room tends to accomodate many patients as we are not allowed to send patients to A&E. With that in mind the demand (very much still in existance on my ward) of adhering to this is overwhelming. We are allowed to relent "with PERMISSION"! We cant do both!!! So I will welcome the day it is changed again, even if just for admission units. You dont see it in place in A&E where I work and we are a branch off from that.

    Sexism emmmm!

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  • Anonymous, fair enough it might be a seperate issue to what we are discussing, it does not make it any less of one! Sexism IS alive and well in Nursing and it IS a huge issue when we have mostly men on a shift, and female bays who refuse to be treated by them based simply on their gender, or nurses who happen to be male having to be 'chaperoned' with young female patients when it is never even brought up as an issue with females treating a young male, or when men are refused or limited in training opportunities in female catheterisation or sexual health or maternity because of their gender.

    But back to the main point, I have never seen mixed wards personally, excluding of course A&E or HDU. But I honestly think it should be pretty low down our list of priorities as long as confidentiality and privacy procedures are still followed, as they still would be on single sex wards.

    But it is a redundant issue anyway since the future seems to be going the way of all single rooms (as in the new hospital they are building in my trust) and against the advice of many Nurses they surveyed.

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  • Anonymous,

    You seem to be blind to the issue of sexism against male nurses. It's rife within general nursing.
    I've been in situations with black colleagues who've been discriminated against. I didn't notice while it was happening but on reflection I've realised that they're right.
    I think this situation is similar for you Anonymous. As a female you don't notice the discrimination that's under your nose because you're not experiencing it.
    It's time, Anonymous, for you to try to see things from the perspective of male nurses.

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