Single sex accommodation

The department of health have committed to virtually eliminating mixed accommodation throughout the NHS.

Every patient has the right to receive high quality care that is safe, effective and respects their privacy and dignity. East Cheshire NHS Trust is committed to providing every patient with single sex accommodation, because it helps to safeguard their privacy and dignity when they are often at their most vulnerable.

Ward

Breach defined

A breach of single sex accommodation is the placement of a patient within a clinical setting following admission, where one or more of the following criteria apply:

  • The patient occupies a bed space that is either next to or directly opposite a member of the opposite gender.
  • The patient occupies a bed space that does not have access to single-sex washing and toileting facilities.
  • The patient must pass through an area designated for occupation by members of the opposite sex to gain access to washing and toileting facilities.
  • Where no clinical justification exists or where an initial clinical justification applied is no longer appropriate.

Clinical justification

There are no areas of exception. However, there are times when the need to treat and admit can override the need for complete segregation. This might apply, for instance, with:

  • A patient needing high tech care with one to one nursing, eg ICU, HDU.
  • A patient needing very specialised care, where one nurse might be caring for a small number of patients.
  • A patient needing very urgent care, eg rapid admission following heart attack.
  • Where mixing does occur, it must be justifiable for all the patients affected. There are no blanket exemptions for particular specialties, and no exemptions at all from the need to provide high standards of privacy and dignity at all times.

Decision making

It has been agreed by our associate directors that the decision to mix must be taken by a senior manager eg service manager in hours or the on call manager out of hours.

The trust reports every month on the numbers of single sex accommodation breaches. Since January 2012 the trust has reported 3 occasions’ when non clinically justified breaches have occurred affecting 5 patients.

More information

For more information please view our Privacy and Dignity Policy 2014-2017

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