The NHS is on track to “virtually eliminate” mixed-sex accommodation from English hospitals, health minister Ann Keen announced yesterday.
Following the publication of a progress report from the Delivering Same-Sex Accommodation Taskforce, Ms Keen said the “overwhelming majority” of NHS patients now slept in same-sex accommodation.
According to the report - Delivering same sex accommodation: the story so far – all improvement schemes implemented by NHS trusts, backed by the Department of Health’s £100m privacy and dignity fund, are on track to be completed by June 2010.
The Department of Health has said that all trusts are expected to provide same-sex accommodation by June next year, and any trust that fails to do so will be subject to financial sanctions.
However, RCN chief executive Peter Carter warned that financial penalties could exacerbate the situation at poorly performing trusts.
“We recognise that the proposed introduction of penalties for hospitals which continue to treat patients in mixed-sex accommodation from June 2010 suggests the government is taking the issue very seriously,” he said.
“However, there needs to be greater clarity on how this would be implemented and reassurance that poor performing trusts will not become even worse if they have money taken away because of mixed-sex accommodation,” he added.