Patients must have their dignity5th February 2008
The government must give patients the basic human need of their dignity, argues Janet Street-Porter.
Labour pledged in its manifestos of 1997 and 2001 to get rid of mixed sex wards in the NHS. Tony Blair once even said it was not â€śbeyond the witâ€? of government or health administrators to do so.
However, Health Minister Lord Darzi has now conceded it has had to abandon the move. At a time that politicians say patient satisfaction is up and that waiting times are down, what I want to know is why the NHS cannot provide patients with basic dignity.
The new guidelines on wards now talk about single-sex accommodation, not single-sex wards, but whatever the terminology most patients still want to be in single-sex units and not have to go to the bathroom through mixed areas.
In an emergency, patients accept they may need to be placed in a mixed assessment ward but not for pre-booked admissions.
Just before Christmas I was approached by the Prime Ministerâ€™s wife Sarah Brown to support the cancer charity Maggieâ€™s Centre. A year earlier, my sister died of cancer, spending her last days on a mixed sex ward. If only she had been able to visit such as place as Maggieâ€™s Centre.
But Mrs Brown must find it embarrassing that Labour has just admitted that it will not be able to honour its commitment to end mixed-sex wards in NHS hospitals.
I support cancer charities, but until this government puts patients first, I cannot commit my time to raising cash for Maggieâ€™s Centres.
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Title: Patients must have their dignity
Author: Mark Nicholls
Article Id: 5541
Date Added: 5th Feb 2008