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Mixed-sex wards still a problem

10th May 2007

The government has said the NHS is not ensuring all non-emergency hospital patients are kept in single-sex wards.


In November 2006, ministers said 99% of patients were being treated in single-sex accommodation. The government launched an inquiry following reports from patients and a Healthcare Commission survey which suggested this was not the case.

Chief nursing officer Professor Christine Beasley carried out the inquiry. She stated that the NHS needed to act in order to ensure patients were treated on single-sex wards.

The government has now said that 28 NHS trusts require assistance in order to achieve targets. Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt said: "The NHS overall has an excellent record of treating people with dignity and respect."

"However, this report shows there is clearly still more work for the NHS to do to meet our commitment to eliminate mixed-sex accommodation wherever possible."

In the 1997 general election, Tony Blair promised an end to mixed-sex wards. In 2000, the government set a target for 95% of patients to be treated on single-sex wards within two years.

The Patient Forums group stated their survey of 2,500 patients in March 2007 showed that 25% of patients had been treated in mixed-sex wards or bays.

Katherine Murphy, of the Patients Association, said: "Patients have a right to be treated in a safe environment with privacy, respect and dignity."

"Patients continue to complain and for years politicians have promised to rectify this problem."

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Article Information

Title: Mixed-sex wards still a problem
Author: Martine Hamilton
Article Id: 2800
Date Added: 10th May 2007


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