We are proud that all of patients who are admitted to any of our hospitals will now be cared for in a ward where they will have their own bedroom, many with en-suite washing and toilet facilities.
We have no mixed sex wards in our adult acute inpatient mental health assessment and treatment wards or secure inpatient services. Where we still have mixed sex accommodation, male and female patients may share day areas such as living rooms, activity rooms and kitchens however there is always a separate female only day space available in line with privacy and dignity in care requirements. Same sex sleeping, toilet and washing facilities are throughout all of our hospitals.
Where we have bathing facilities which have specialist equipment in them to assist people with mobility difficulties that may be used by members of either sex, our nursing staff will make sure that privacy and dignity are always respected
Creating environments that are safe and therapeutic is fundamental to good care. In mental health, promoting physical and sexual safety through eliminating mixed sex accommodation is one of the key ways to help our patients feel safe in hospital.
What is same sex accommodation?
Same-sex accommodation can be provided in:
- Same sex wards or units, where the whole ward is occupied by men or women only.
- Mixed sex ward or unit where patients are cared for in single rooms with en-suite or same sex adjacent washing and toileting facilities.
- Mixed sex ward or unit where patients are cared for in same sex bays with adjacent same sex toilet and washing facilities.
Separate male and female toilet and washing facilities should be easily accessible without the need for patients to go through an area of the ward or unit where there are members of the opposite sex.
The Department of Health is clear that it is not acceptable for people to be placed in mixed sex sleeping accommodation at any point following admission, unless it can be clinically justified. Clinically justified means:
- A patient needing very high-tech care, with one-to-one nursing, for example intensive care and high dependency units
- A patient needing very specialised care, where one nurse might be caring for a small number of patients or
- A patient needing very urgent care, for example rapid admission following heart attack.
Why is same sex accommodation important?
The NHS Constitution places great importance on the patients’ experiences of privacy and dignity and same sex accommodation plays a significant part in this.
The Department of Health, the secretary of state for health and the NHS is committed to making the necessary change and investment to maximise the provision of same sex accommodation in as many health service locations as possible.
Within Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust we have made real progress in developing accommodation that ensures the protection of privacy and dignity.
Find answers to frequently asked questions about same sex accommodation at
NHS Choices – your health, your choices