Press release

Mixed-sex accommodation breaches at a record low

Mixed-sex accommodation breaches for hospitals in England have fallen by 99 per cent since monitoring started almost two years ago, according to data published today by the Department of Health.

In August 2012 there were only 160 breaches - occasions where patients were unjustifiably placed in mixed-sex accommodation - down from 11,802 in December 2010 when the data was first collected. The numbers have fallen for the fourth month in a row, down 36 per cent from 249 in July 2012.

A total of 136 trusts (84 per cent) reported zero breaches. The most significant reductions in breaches were recorded at King’s College Foundation Trust (55 to 15), South London Healthcare (22 to 3), and Royal Surrey County Hospital (10 to 0).

Health Minister Dr Dan Poulter said:

“Nobody should have to suffer the indignity of mixed-sex accommodation. Thanks to the hard work of NHS staff and the Government’s rigorous monitoring system, the number of patients placed in mixed sex accommodation has reduced by 99 per cent.

“Any hospitals still placing patients in mixed-sex accommodation face fines of £250 per patient, per day for every breach. I am pleased that we are making good progress and improving dignity for patients.”

Any organisation that provides NHS funded care is expected to eliminate mixed-sex accommodation, except where it is in the overall best interest of the patient, or reflects their personal choice.

The commitment to single-sex accommodation has three aspects:

• Patients should not have to share sleeping accommodation with others of the opposite sex.
• Patients should have access to segregated bathroom and toilet facilities and should not have to pass through opposite-sex areas to reach those facilities. 
• Women in mental health units should have access to women-only day spaces.

Notes to editors:

• For media enquiries please contact the Department of Health press office on 0207 210 5947.

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