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Hospital Wards

Volume 481: debated on Monday 20 October 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to phase out mixed-sex wards in NHS hospitals. (227829)

The Department's guidance to the national health service has always required single sex accommodation rather than single sex wards. Even within a mixed ward, good single sex accommodation can be achieved by using single rooms or single sex bays and toilet facilities.

The Department continues to engage strategic health authorities about their plans to deliver a reduction in mixed sex accommodation, thus keeping levels to an absolute minimum, and where possible eliminating it.

Local plans have been made in the context of the operating framework for the NHS in England (2008-09) (this publication has already been deposited in the Library), which requires primary care trusts to review the current situation in all trusts and agree, publish, and implement stretching local plans for improvement in delivering single sex accommodation, with identified timescales and monitoring mechanisms. The framework specifically requires that patient survey results, where available, be used as the monitoring mechanism.