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Many trusts flout mixed-sex rules

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Almost half of NHS acute trusts are still putting patients in mixed-sex accommodation despite facing financial penalties, new figures show.

Data for March revealed 5,446 breaches of mixed-sex rules across England, down from 7,583 in February.

As of 1 April, trusts are being fined £250 per patient per day for breaking rules on mixed-sex sleeping on wards.

The data for March, from 287 provider organisations, showed there are still thousands of breaches every month.

Of 146 acute trusts, 48% had sleeping breaches. Acute trusts accounted for 5,349 (98%) of all reported breaches of the rules.

Health secretary Andrew Lansley introduced the fines last year after saying the breaches were “unacceptable”.

The government has accused Labour of covering up previous data on mixed-sex accommodation.

But Labour has said the Conservatives dropped their promise to build 45,000 new single rooms for the NHS.

Mr Lansley said: “Labour covered up the scandal of mixed-sex accommodation. We are sorting it out.

“We exposed the problem by publishing this data and we are introducing fines from this month to help prevent breaches in the future.

“Progress still needs to be made but the overall reduction is encouraging. A transparent NHS is a better NHS for everyone.”

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