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Hospitals introduce same sex wards

PUBLISHED: 09:49 01 April 2010 | UPDATED: 17:15 30 June 2010

Hospitals across the region last night pledged to comply with a landmark ruling on patient dignity as new rules came into force from today meaning all trusts have to eliminate mixed-sex wards.

Hospitals across the region last night pledged to comply with a landmark ruling on patient dignity as new rules came into force from today meaning all trusts have to eliminate mixed-sex wards.

The four key hospitals in this region, as well as community hospitals and mental health trusts, say they have virtually got rid of all mixed sex wards.

The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, the James Paget University Hospital at Gorleston, Queen Elizabeth Hospital at King's Lynn and West Suffolk Hospital at Bury St Edmunds, have taken critical steps towards achieving same sex wards in recent months.

It comes as health secretary Andy Burnham said: “Today is the cut-off point for all trusts to confirm that they have virtually eliminated mixed-sex accommodation and we are confident that the vast majority of trusts will do so. This is a crucial part of building a people-centred NHS.”

However, both sexes can still be treated on the same ward in some cases, such as in intensive care or when patients need specialist care in a small group or urgent treatment.

Same-sex accommodation can be provided in same-sex wards where the whole ward is occupied by men or women only, single rooms and mixed wards where men and women are in separate bays or rooms. Using curtains to separate bays is not allowed under the rules.

The controversial issue was considered yesterday by members of the Norfolk NHS Board who welcomed the changes and acknowledged the efforts by local hospital staff in preparing for the new rules.

Patients in the Great Yarmouth and Waveney area have also been assured steps have been taken to comply with the regulations on same sex wards.

Trust spokeswoman Rebecca Driver said: “At our public board meeting last week, we confirmed that all of our providers have been declared compliant with the same sex accommodation rules.”

Work has also been undertaken by the James Paget University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said Nick Coveney, director of nursing and patient services.

“Being treated with privacy and dignity is a key aspect of patient experience and together with our Primary Care Trust partners we have taken action to improve access to and the quality of our same-sex accommodation,” he said.


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