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Mixed sex breaches down to just over 1,000

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Mixed sex accommodation breaches have reached their lowest level since the introduction of fines, according to latest figures, but 30 per cent of acute trusts are still failing to be fully compliant.

Data for July shows that there were 1,126 breaches of the Department of Health’s guidelines that ban mixes sex accommodation in the majority of circumstances. This compares to 1,933 for June and marks a 90 per cent drop from the 11,802 breaches recorded in December.

The data shows that the remaining breaches are concentrated in 51 out of 167 acute trusts. The five trusts with the worst compliance for July were:

  • Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust –205
  • Barts and The London NHS Trust – 192
  • South London Healthcare NHS Trust – 70
  • Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust – 62
  • Luton and Dunstable Hospital NHS Foundation Trust – 53

By region, the majority of breaches, 346, were in NHS London followed by the NHS South East Coast with 271. However, NHS North East became the first region to report no breaches in a month.

Since 1 April trusts have been fined £250 for every day a patient is forced to share accommodation with the opposite sex.

In a statement announcing the figures, health secretary Andrew Lansley said: “The NHS has done a fantastic job getting to grips with this. But we remain determined to put an end to mixed-sex accommodation where it is not clinically justified.”

He also announced that any future capital investments in NHS hospitals – whether brand new of refurbishments – should consider having a minimum of 50 per cent single en-suite rooms. The move is also intended to improve isolation facilities for infection control.

The first NHS hospital with all single rooms opened earlier this year. The Pembury Hospital in Kent, which is part of the Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells Trust, opened its women’s and children’s services and some support services in January, with the remaining services due to open in September.

The hospital has 10 wards with 512 rooms, all of which have en suite facilities. It was built under a private finance initiative for around £230m.

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