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Delivering same sex accommodation

bedroomWhile not a new concept, eliminating mixed sex accommodation has had an increased profile over recent years.

The NHS Constitution states that all patients should feel that their privacy and dignity are respected while they are in hospital. High Quality Care for All (2008), Lord Darzi’s review of the NHS, identified the need to organise care around the individual, ‘not just clinically but in terms of dignity and respect’.

In February 2009 the Department of Health issued a letter (Gateway reference: 11352, 23 February 2009) identifying that within the NHS Next Stage Review, the focus should be on improving the quality of care. The definition of quality spans not only clinical outcomes, but patient experience, and in particular, whether patients feel that they are treated with compassion, with their dignity and privacy protected.

Within this letter the definition of single sex accommodation was refined:

Single-sex accommodation can be provided in:

  • Single-sex wards (i.e. the whole ward is occupied by men or women but not both)
  • Single rooms with adjacent single-sex toilet and washing facilities (preferably en-suite)
  • Single-sex accommodation within mixed wards (i.e. bays or rooms which accommodate either men or women, not both; with designated single-sex toilet and washing facilities preferably within or adjacent to the bay or room).

In addition, patients should not need to pass through opposite sex accommodation or toilet and washing facilitates to access their own.

In December 2009 and February 2010, further guidance on definitions of same sex accommodation and what Trust should do to achieve this was published. Also included was the need to provide key information regarding trust activity and to publish a declaration regarding achievement of same sex accommodation on the Trust public website.

RDaSH has engaged in a detailed programme of work to develop Same Sex Accommodation. This has resulted in a declaration of compliance with regard to delivering same sex accommodation and the development of a Delivering Same Sex Accommodation policy.