Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Hospitals to face mixed sex ward fines

  • Comment

NHS hospitals face fines for failing to end the use of mixed-sex wards under a renewed drive to tackle the issue.

Health secretary Andrew Lansley will promise to toughen the use of existing financial sanctions as part of an operating framework setting health service priorities for the next year.

The strengthened enforcement will only operate from April, however, three months after the coalition’s initial target for having only single-sex accommodation.

Sources said yesterday that the framework will also see one of the targets, the time ambulances take to respond to calls, scrapped - to the fury of union leaders.

As part of the announcement, primary care trusts (PCTs) will learn how much they will have to spend in the coming year.

PCTs and strategic health authorities are to be abolished as part of a major structural shake-up of the health system, which will see control of the bulk of the NHS budget transferring to GP-led consortia by 2013.

Governments have been struggling for 15 years to end the practice of men and women sharing wards and Mr Lansley said in August that it would be ended in all but accident and emergency and intensive care units by the end of the year.

Under his plans, hospitals face losing part of the funding for a patient if they have to share with the opposite sex unless they have consented to it - with those facilities failing to comply being named and shamed.

Shared bathrooms and toilets will be deemed unacceptable as well as the need to pass through areas occupied by the opposite sex.

A panel of senior officials will judge whether cases reported via a special software system are justified, with bed and staff shortages not accepted as a reasonable excuse.

A Department of Health spokeswoman said: “It is vital that the NHS supports patients by protecting their dignity. The provision of single-sex accommodation is essential for this.

“That’s why the NHS will enforce sanctions on breaches of mixed-sex accommodation and why we will publish data on breaches.

“Patients will use the information to inform their choice of hospital. There will be no let-up in our drive to improve patient safety, outcomes and patient experience.”

  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.

Related Jobs