Further falls in the number of patients kept on mixed-sex wards has prompted ministers to suggest single-sex accommodation is now the norm in the NHS in England. In July there were 1,126 breaches - a drop of 90% since December 2010. More than two thirds of hospitals reported zero breaches with the north east becoming the first region to report no breaches at all.
Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said: "The NHS has done a fantastic job getting to grips with this. Single-sex accommodation is what people can now expect." They apply to all trusts from acute hospitals to mental health units. Only intensive care and A&E are excused. Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-14573155
I remember the Health Minister, back in 2008, stating that 'single sex wards were not possible.' I've found the 2008 article at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/7213836.stm. Here is an extract:
"The only way we're going to have single-sex wards within the NHS is to build the whole of the NHS into single rooms. That is an aspiration that cannot be met."
In the article, Kate Jopling, of the charity Help the Aged, said:
"Dignity in care should be paramount, and privacy goes hand in hand with this. Sharing mixed sex wards remains an ongoing concern for many older people who may find the experience distressing and an inappropriate infringement of their privacy, and therefore dignity.
Of course, as Ms Jopling is speaking for Help the Aged, her focus is on older people, but the points she makes about the importance of dignity and privacy, and the distress mixed wards have caused (and continue to cause in some areas) extend to all age groups. I am, therefore, pleased by this news (even if it has taken the government far too long to implement it...)
N.B. For all its failings, the Daily Mail has consistently fought to bring to an end the NHS practice of mixing men and women patients.