Same-sex ward rules breached

PUBLISHED: 14:00 11 November 2010

View of the Front of Weston General Hospital.; 13-12-06

View of the Front of Weston General Hospital.; 13-12-06

Copyright Archant Ltd

A NEWLY-BUILT single sex ward at Weston General Hospital is still failing to keep female and male patients apart, new figures show.

Nurses and doctors failed to keep men and women apart on 41 occasions in the emergency assessment unit from April until September.

The figures, from the hospital trust’s monthly report, included 14 incidents in September.

It comes a year after £1million was spent on turning the emergency assessment unit and day case unit into single sex wards.

In defence, the hospital trust has said the breaches were made to meet clinical need.

A statement from the trust also says patients’ dignity was ‘preserved’ in all cases and the move of the 15-bed unit will result in a reduction of breaches.

But the figures will not please Government officials, who announced in the summer that hospitals will face harsh fines if they failed to stamp out the practice.

Health secretary Andrew Lansley claimed tens of thousands of patients were still being placed in mixed sex wards and bay every year without clinical justification.

At Weston General Hospital, many wards separate male and female patients, only wards such as the intensive care unit and coronary care unit remain mixed because of the high need of monitoring by nurses.

A spokesman said: “Patients tell us through surveys and other feedback that they do not like sharing ward bays with members of the opposite sex when they are staying in hospital.

“We understand this and strive to ensure it does not happen on our general wards.”

The hospital trust has set a target to eliminate all breaches of rules in single sex wards.

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