Mixed sex wards ban

HOSPITAL bosses face being fined thousands of pounds as part of a Government clampdown on mixed sex wards.

From April hospitals across the country will be penalised if they break rules that forbid forcing male and female patients to sleep in the same bays.

Fines of £250 per patient would be incurred for each day.

In December at the Conquest Hospital 17 patients were put in mixed sex accommodation, according to figures published by Health Secretary Andrew Lansley. Its sister hospital, Eastbourne DGH, had 26 over the same period.

This means East Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust (ESHT), which runs both sites, would have been fined £10,750 in total for the breaches.

The organisation is already struggling with mounting debts.

Hospitals are expected to provide separate sleeping, bathroom and toilet facilities for male and female patients.

Wards do not have to be single sex but patients should be kept in bays partitioned off.

An ESHT spokesman said: “We are committed to improving the privacy and dignity of the care experience of all our patients and an important aspect of this is single sex accommodation.

“We have virtually eliminated mixed sex accommodation across the trust but there can be occasions where this is not possible. When this occurs, we have a clear policy in place to rectify the situation within six hours.

“The Department of Health has recently changed its expectations towards same sex accommodation and we are working with our colleagues from the Primary Care Trust (PCT) to ensure we have robust plans in place to respond to these changes.”