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Mixed-sex Wards

Volume 531: debated on Tuesday 12 July 2011

In just six months, the number of reported breaches of mixed-sex accommodation guidance has fallen by 83%, from 11,802 in December 2010 to 2,011 in May 2011. Across England, the reported breach rate is now 1.4 per 1,000 finished consultant episodes, compared to 8.4 per 1,000 FCEs in December 2010.

A 93-year-old female patient from my constituency was placed in a cardiac ward opposite a mental health patient who also needed cardiac treatment. This male patient was much younger and was left in a near-naked state for much of the day. That caused so much distress to my constituent that she discharged herself early. What effort and focus can the Minister give to the NHS in Wales to ensure that such breaches and mixed-sex wards are ended?

I am saddened to hear my hon. Friend’s account of what happened in a hospital in, I assume, his constituency. I can appreciate how distressing it is. As he will understand, that comes within the responsibility of the Welsh Administration as a devolved power. My advice to my hon. Friend is two things. I hope the Welsh Assembly will, first, follow the example of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State and concentrate on reducing mixed-sex accommodation, and secondly, stop cutting funding for the health service so that it can afford to do that.

Can the Minister explain briefly how he has managed to make such rapid progress in 12 months, given that the previous Administration made no progress whatsoever?

My hon. Friend has hit on an important issue. The answer is clarity of purpose and vision on the part of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State not only to talk the talk, but to walk the walk and achieve dignity for patients in the NHS in England.