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Fines for hospitals with mixed-sex wards

20th May 2011

The Department of Health has revealed that a number of hospitals in England have been fined for keeping patients in mixed-sex accommodation as part of a drive to get rid of the problem.

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Figures show that during April, there were 2,600 breaches of the problem, a fall of half on breaches of the ruling in March.

Hospitals are fined for £250 for each day a patient is kept in mixed-sex wards with some £665,000 in fines believed to have been levied so far.

The government has been attempting to tackle the problem of mixed sex wards in hospitals for a number of years.

The coalition administration has taken on the challenge after the previous Labour government struggled with an issue that was hampered by the fact that large numbers of NHS buildings were old and proved difficult to convert into suitable single sex ward accommodation.

April saw the introduction of the new system of fines.

In recent months the NHS has invested in single rooms to help address the issue and figures highlighting breaches have been published, highlighting the fact that the situation has been improving.

The 11,000 breaches reported in December had fallen to under 5,500 by March.

Single-sex accommodation means patients sharing sleeping, bathroom and toilet facilities only with people of the same sex but regulations permit wards to be segregated into distinct bays as long as they have separate facilities.

Health secretary Andrew Lansley said that he was pleased by the downward trend but acknowledged that there were still too many breaches of the regulation.

 

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