NHS mixed-sex accommodation breaches under 200 for first time


Two years after mandatory reporting began privacy and dignity of patients is improving

The undignified practice of treating male and female hospital patients in the same sleeping environment is finally being stamped out across the NHS, with reports of the sexes being mixed hitting an all-time low.

Two years ago the Government introduced mandatory reporting of incidents where NHS inpatients were treated in mixed-sex accommodation. And figures for August show the number of breaches at the lowest level to date.

In total 84% of trusts – 136 organisations – reported no breaches at all, with a total of 160 incidents. This compares to 11,802 breaches in December 2010 when recording began.

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%.

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

The fining system amounts to £40,000 for August.

Over the summer the most significant reductions in breaches were recorded at King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (from 55 to 15), South London Healthcare NHS Trust (from 22 to 3), and Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (from 10 to 0).

In terms of individual trusts, three strategic health authorities recorded no breaches – NHS North East, NHS East Midlands, and NHS South Central. NHS London continues to have the most breaches, with 100 during August. The next highest number was at NHS North West with 22 incidents.

Barnet And Chase Farm Hospitals NHS Trust had the highest number of breaches, with 20, 13 at Barnet and seven at Chase Farm; while Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust had 19, 17 at Queen’s Hospital and two at King George Hospital; and St George's Healthcare NHS Trust and Royal United Hospital Bath NHS Trust both recorded 17 at St George’s Hospital and the Royal United Hospital Bath.

The worst-offending primary care trusts were NHS Croydon with 17 and NHS Havering and NHS Barnet both with 11.

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