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'It's a bit of a shame there are no men in the ward, she said'

  • Comments (7)

It all seemed pretty straightforward, the drive to have single sex wards and bays.

No question in my mind that it is the best way forward. It is what patients want, it promotes dignity and privacy. But things are not always as they seem. Sometimes they are more complicated.

I visited an elderly relative this weekend, an 83-year old who was being cared for in a six-bedded bay with five other women. She was positive about the ward and about where she was being cared for.

I found myself saying it was a good thing that she was being cared for in an all female environment, how it is much better that it was all women. I felt quite smug as if by writing about the single sex initiative at Nursing Times I had had some part in implementing national policy.

Well, she said, it is a bit of a shame there are no men here as we would be having more of a laugh. Men have a better sense of humour, don’t they?

I was quite surprised by her response and questioned her more closely – what about if you were on the bed pan or having a wash wouldn’t you feel uncomfortable if there was a man in the bed opposite? No apparently not if the curtains were pulled properly.

So perhaps we do need to find ways for the sexes to meet when in hospital as there are social  benefits that must not be forgotten in the drive to separate men and women.

  • Comments (7)

Readers' comments (7)

  • I absolutely disagree with the statement that single sex wards are the best way forward and have issue with the smugness that you share with many others who demanded it. Single sex BAYS I agree with, but not whole wards.

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  • I agree with you Mike - single sex bays - yes. Is there really a need for a single sex wards?? I really don't think so.

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  • Anonymous

    Quite right.

    I always felt gynae wards should be mixed, for example

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  • Anonymous

    I remember in the old days where we had single sex wards, then it was decided that this was not right and wards became mixed with single sex bays. We had day rooms where patients could mix if they wanted to but they soon went when bed pressures came too much. Now we are going full circle with single sex wards.

    I feel that single sex bays are important for privacy and dignity but the patients should have a choice as to weather they want to mingle in a general area.

    With new ward designs and EU regulations new wards have 4 beds their own toilet and washing facilities in their room with doors attached, so why should we be all single sex wards.

    We are always saying that patients should have the choice but did they ever have a say in this? As the article states most people would be happy with single sex bays/rooms but would like to mingle with the opposite sex in day rooms.

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  • Anonymous | 16-Sep-2011 11:51 am

    "As the article states most people would be happy with single sex bays/rooms but would like to mingle with the opposite sex in day rooms"

    Well I don't think the article did say that actually, just that the author's relative wanted to mingle with the opposite sex in day rooms.

    And where did you get "most" people from? Is that evidence based?

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  • Anonymous | 16-Sep-2011 11:51 am

    "With new ward designs and EU regulations new wards have 4 beds their own toilet and washing facilities in their room with doors attached, so why should we be all single sex wards."

    I agree with you and others who have no problem with mixed sex wards. I say this as both a Nurse working in them and, in the past, a patient. Patronising smugness, (and apparently, nit-picking!) has always blighted Nursing and causes these silly policies to be applied.

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  • If i was a patient i would be very bored with only my own sex to talk to. i would be sneaking around to the men's ward to talk rugby!

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