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Mixed sex wards targets not met, say Conservatives


The Conservatives have accused Labour of failing to meet targets for mixed sex hospital wards.

In March the government announced that most NHS trusts in England had scrapped mixed sex accommodation.

All NHS trusts were told they must provide accommodation separately for men and women, dividing up bays with solid walls or full-height partitions.

Using curtains to separate bays is not allowed under the rules.

But the Tories today claimed there were almost 20,000 breaches of procedure for segregating patients by sex in English hospitals last year.

They said the number of complaints about privacy and dignity had increased to more than 1,000.

And they claimed nearly half of hospitals still only use bays to segregate patients, one in six only use partitions and one in nine only use curtains.

Shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley said: “These figures show that they have failed. People will rightly ask how they can believe anything that the Labour government promises after their repeated failure to deliver on ending the scandal of mixed sex wards.”

A Tory spokesman said the figures came from a freedom of information request sent to all hospitals asking them about their patient segregation practices.

A Labour Party spokesman said: “We are proud of the work the NHS has done to tackle this problem.

“At the end of March this year, following the completion of over 1,000 schemes in more than 200 trusts - months after the period the Conservatives’ figures cover - 95% of NHS trusts confirmed that they have eliminated mixed-sex accommodation and the remainder confirmed they will do so in the next few months.”


Readers' comments (4)

  • Sad that Labour has failed for 13 years to deliver on this promise. It should be quite straightforward.

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  • hmmm not quite sure that it is that straight forward particularly not in crit care areas, with only piped water etc only available in certain bed spaces, and cohorting or isolating pts with infection is of course high on the agenda.

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  • Why dont the hospitals employ bed movers/porters to achieve the single sex bays/wards. They expect the nurses to move the beds, lockers, tables, patients and patients property as well as administer drugs, serve meals, check observations and deal with emergencies. I was ordered to move 7 patients during one shift to create a male bay. It nearly killed me because I was moving bed, locker, table and swapping patients round whilst trying to carry out the basic nursing duties on my to do list. The work is back-breaking and we do not have time for it because we are busy. I was forceed to stay behind doing my notes because an hour and half of my time was wated movimg beds and lockers, and mind you this was during the drug round whereby I had to move the bed and locker then adminster the odd tablet or injection in between. Stop overwirking us to meet government targets.

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  • targets are easy said than done. totally agree with the comment above and the point about critical care and high care areas. This also applies to wards/ units where mixed sex areas are appropriate and does work.At the end of the day it is about patient care needs and the quality of the nursing care delivery to that individual. It should not just be about the quantity of figures that dictates govenrment targets.

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