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An end to mixed-sex wards

16th August 2010

The government is set to announce the end of mixed-sex wards within the health service.

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Health Secretary Andrew Lansley is expected to confirm the plans this week, which could see mixed accommodation stopped by the end of the year.

Currently around one in 10 wards in NHS hospitals is mixed, with around one third of patients required to share bathrooms.

Andy Burnham, the Shadow Health Secretary, said 95% of hospitals already offered patients separate male and female wards.

Mr Lansley said in a statement: "I have made clear repeatedly my deep frustration at the fact that mixed-sex accommodation has not been eliminated from the NHS."

"Eliminating mixed-sex accommodation is in patients' best interests, and I made clear the priority I attach to it in the revised Operating Framework published in June. I will have more to say on this shortly."

The Daily Telegraph reported that Mr Lansley had requested the Chief Nursing Officer Dame Christine Beasley to inspect those hospital trusts which provided mixed-sex wards to find out their strategies for ensuring men and women did not have to use the same services.

Mixed-sex accommodation was stopped in Scotland in 2005, while in Wales 95% of accommodation is split into either single rooms or separate male and female wards. Wales aims to stop mixed wards completely by March next year.

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