Press release

Statistical press notice mixed-sex accommodation breach data

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Main Points This notice presents data on all breaches (i.e. occurrences of unjustified mixing) of the Mixed-Sex Accommodation (MSA) guidance…

Main Points

  • This notice presents data on all breaches (i.e. occurrences of unjustified mixing) of the Mixed-Sex Accommodation (MSA) guidance relating to English NHS-funded patients in hospital sleeping accommodation during September 2012.
  • Providers of NHS-funded healthcare reported 182 breaches of the MSA guidance in relation to NHS patients in sleeping accommodation in England during September 2012, compared to 160 in August 2012.
  • Of the 161 Acute Trusts that submitted data for September 2012, 133 (83%) reported zero sleeping breaches. 180 of the breaches occurred in Acute Trusts, and 2 occurred in Mental Health Providers.
  • An MSA breach rate is published alongside counts of breaches to enable comparison between provider organisations. This is the number of sleeping accommodation per 1,000 finished consultant episodes (FCEs). The MSA breach rate for England in September 2012 is 0.1 per 1,000 FCEs, compared to 0.1 per 1,000 FCEs in August 2012.
  • Provider and commissioner tables can be found on the Department of Health website.

Hospital site-level data is available on the NHS Choices website.

Statistical Notes**

1.    **Eliminating Mixed-Sex Accommodation**

The commitment to eliminate mixed-sex accommodation can be found in the 2011-12 NHS Operating Framework[1], which states_ _“All providers of NHS funded care are expected to eliminate mixed-sex accommodation except where it is in the overall best interest of the patient”.

A professional letter[2] (Ref: PL/CNO/2010/3) was sent by the Department of Health in November 2010 to update NHS trusts on requirements with regard to recognising, reporting and eliminating breaches of this policy.

2.    **MSA** Data Collection

National reporting of unjustified mixing (i.e. breaches) in relation to sleeping accommodation commenced on 1 December 2010. MSA breach data is collected monthly from all NHS providers and other organisations that provide NHS-funded care (including Independent and Voluntary Sector organisations).  Data are collected, validated and published in accordance with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics. From April 2011, the MSA data return is mandatory for all NHS Trusts, and the return is now listed in schedule 6 of Monitor’s terms of authorisation, meaning that data submission is also mandatory for Foundation Trusts.

 As well as monitoring and reporting all unjustified mixing of sleeping accommodation, the NHS is also required to monitor all justified mixing in sleeping accommodation, all mixed-sex sharing of bathroom / toilet facilities (including passing through accommodation or toilet/bathroom facilities used by the opposite gender), and all mixed provision of day space in mental health units at a local level. For practical reasons, central reporting has been mandated for MSA breaches in respect of sleeping accommodation only.

“Sleeping accommodation” includes areas where patients are admitted and cared for on beds or trolleys, even where they do not stay overnight. It therefore includes all admissions and assessment units (including clinical decision units), plus day surgery and endoscopy units. It does not include areas where patients have not been admitted, such as accident and emergency cubicles.

3.    **Provider and Commissioner based data**

MSA data covers English NHS patients only and is published both on a provider and commissioner basis.

Provider-based reflects data at organisation level for those organisations that provide NHS funded treatment or care, for example NHS Acute Trusts, NHS Community (PCT) providers, NHS Mental Health Trusts, Independent Sector and Voluntary Sector organisations.

Commissioner-based reflects data on a responsible population basis, i.e. Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) that are responsible for commissioning a patient’s treatment. This is defined as:

  • all patients resident within the commissioning PCT boundary; plus
  • all patients registered with GPs who are members of the commissioning PCT, but are resident in another PCT; minus
  • all patients resident in the PCT, but are registered with a GP who is a member of another PCT.

4.    **MSA** breach rate indicator

The MSA breach rate is the number of breaches of mixed-sex accommodation sleeping accommodation per 1,000 Finished Consultant Episodes.

An MSA breach rate indicator was developed because a simple count of the number of MSA breaches does not provide a fair comparison across healthcare providers. Raw numbers alone do not take into account the size of an organisation and it would be unfair to classify large acute providers as “worst performing” compared to other, smaller providers, as they handle larger volumes of admitted patients and therefore the possibility of mixing patients is greater. The MSA breach rate indicator gives us the ability to compare healthcare providers with others, or to compare change over time. It can tell us how a provider is “performing” in relation to other similar organisations, or the national average, and whether they are improving or getting worse.

Numbers of “Finished Consultant Episodes” taken from Hospital Episodes Statistics (HES) are used to calculate MSA breach rates.  We would usually use data relating to September 2011 as a proxy for September 2012 however, due to technical problems with the HES database we have had to use August 2011 figures instead.

For more information, see the MSA Breach Rate methodology paper on the Department of Health website.

5.    **Data Quality**

MSA breach data was collected by provider organisations for the first time in December 2010. Figures published during the early months of the collection from December 2010 to March 2011 should be treated with a degree of caution as providers were implementing and embedding new data collection procedures.

From April 2011MSAdata are mandatory for all NHS providers, including Foundation Trusts, and flat-rate fines for MSA breaches have been built into organisations’ contracts. Therefore, it is expected that MSA data collection processes are now fully embedded in the NHS and that the data submitted from April 2011 onwards is of a higher quality than in previous months.

6.    **Feedback welcomed**

We welcome feedback on the content and presentation of MSA statistics within this Statistical Press Notice and those published on the DH website. Please email any comments on this, or any other issues regarding the MSA data and statistics, to:

Additional Information

Details of MSA data for individual organisations are available on the Department of Health website.

To contact the Media Centre, please refer to the Department of Health’s website for the relevant contact details.

The Government Statistical Service (GSS) statistician responsible for producing these data is:

Mark Svenson
Knowledge and Intelligence
Department of Health
Room 4E63, Quarry House, Quarry Hill, Leeds LS2 7UE
For data queries, email:


[1] The 2012-13 NHS Operating Framework can be found on the Department of Health website.

[2] The MSA professional letter (Ref: PL/CNO/2010/2) can be found on the Department of Health website.