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Eliminating Mixed Sex Accommodation

Declaration of Compliance  - 1 April 2012

Every patient has the right to receive high quality care that is safe, effective and respects their privacy and dignity.

James Paget University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is pleased to confirm that we are compliant with the Government’s requirement to eliminate mixed-sex accommodation, except when it is in the patient’s overall best interest, or reflects their personal choice.  We have the necessary facilities, resources and culture to ensure that patients who are admitted to our hospitals will only sleep in individual rooms, or in bays with other patients of the same sex, with same-sex toilets and bathrooms that will be located close to their bed area.  Sharing with members of the opposite sex will only happen when clinically necessary (for example where patients need specialist equipment such as in ICU or when patients actively choose to share e.g. renal), all of which is in line with national guidance

If our care should fall short of the required standard we will report it internally and externally to our commissioners.  We will also set up an audit mechanism to make sure that we do not misclassify any of our reports.  We will publish the results of that audit at the Trust's Board of Directors. (Each occurrence will be fully investigated and reported to the Board of Directors)

What does this mean for patients?

Other than in the circumstances set out above, patients admitted to or treated at James Paget University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust can expect to find the following:-

  • The bay/room where your bed is will only have patients of the same sex as you
  • Your toilet and bathroom will be just for your gender, and will be as close to your bed area as possible

It is possible that there will be both men and women patients on the ward, but they will not share your sleeping area.  You may have to cross a ward corridor to reach your bathroom, but you will not have to walk through opposite sex areas. (It is our aim that you will not have to pass by opposite sex areas).

You may share some communal space, such as day room or dining rooms, and it is very likely that you will see both men and women patients as you move around the hospital (eg on your way to X-ray or the operating theatre).

It is probable that visitors of the opposite gender will come into the room where your bed is, and this may include patients visiting each other.

It is almost certain that both male and female nurses, doctors and other staff will come into your bed area.

If you need help to use the toilet or take a bath (eg you need a hoist or special bath) then you may be taken to a “unisex” bathroom used by both men and women, but a member of staff will be with you, and other patients will not be in the bathroom at the same time.

The NHS will not turn patients away just because a “right-sex” bed is not immediately available.

What have we achieved and what are our plans for the future?

James Paget University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has completed extensive work to create more side rooms with ensuite facilities, upgraded areas in paediatrics and at Lowestoft Hospital and new shower rooms across our general wards.  We have dedicated male and female surgical wards.

In our Admissions Unit (EADU) staff have put processes in place to ensure that emergency patients do not share bays at any time.

In Endoscopy we have put measures in place to ensure more privacy in the changing area and have separate recovery areas.

Even in areas that are exempt because of clinical need we have tried very hard to ensure that our staff put measures in place to protect privacy and dignity as much as possible, and our Intensive Care Unit has been created to have separate cubicles and rooms to protect dignity and privacy.

An observation unit with separate male and female sections, each with their own bathroom facilities is available.

How will we measure our success?

Delivering same sex accommodation at James Paget University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is a standing item at our performance meetings. Any “breaches” to compliance will be raised at Board level. We have also incorporated questions into our “patient experience tracker” internal surveys as part of our major project to improve the patient experience.  One of our senior matrons (Deputy Directors of Nursing) has Trust wide responsibility to ensure we remain compliant and to drive improvements, including listening to feedback from patients, carers and relatives.

We do work very closely with our local commissioning Primary Care Trust, NHS Great Yarmouth & Waveney(Clinical Commissioning Group, HealthEast), who undertake joint assessments and provide supportive advice and suggestions for improvement.  We provide regular assurance to the PCT (HealthEast) on our compliance status..

What do I do if I think I am in mixed sex accommodation?

We want to know about your experience.

Please contact any of the telephone numbers below if you have any comments or concerns:-

Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) - James Paget University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
01493 453240

NHS Great Yarmouth & Waveney (PALS) (HealthEast/NHS Norfolk)
01502 719500

Norfolk LINk – 01603 883860 (Health Watch)

Suffolk LINk – 01449 771246 (Health Watch)

David Hill, Chief Executive

The Trust's same sex and maintaining privacy and dignity policy is available here.

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