London and North West top table for most single-sex accommodation breaches


Hospitals report 177 breaches in November, with majority at King\'s College Hospital

London and the North West regions continue to report the highest breach rates for providing patients with single-sex accommodation while in hospital, according to new figures.

While awaiting the development of new facilities, the strategic health authorities have reported the highest number of breaches in monthly figures released by the Department of Health as a result of the introduction of mandatory reporting among all health trusts.

NHS North East, NHS East Midlands and NHS South West were the only areas to report no breaches for November, the last month for which figures have been made available.

NHS London reported 110 breaches, while NHS North West had 22 episodes of patients being housed in accommodation with patients of the opposite sex.

Figures have been published since December 2010 and episodes refer to sleeping accommodation including areas where patients are admitted and cared for on beds or trolleys, even where they do not stay overnight. The reports therefore include all admissions and assessment units plus day surgery and endoscopy departments. They do not include areas where patients have not been admitted, such as accident and emergency cubicles.

In November there was a total of 177 breaches compared to 242 in October. The reports cover 161 trusts, with all breaches in acute hospital trusts. A total of 86% of organisations that submitted results reported no breaches at all.

The providers worst affected were Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust with 14 breaches all at Stafford Hospital and Barts Health NHS Trust with 17 reports at the Royal London Hospital (15) and Whipps Cross Hospital (2). King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust topped the table with 42 reports, all at King’s College Hospital.

Figures for primary care trusts show NHS South Staffordshire, NHS Croydon, NHS Greenwich Teaching PCT, NHS Lewisham, NHS Southwark, and NHS West Kent reported the most incidents.

Trusts are fined £250 per patient, per day for every breach reported. This amounts to at last £44,250 for November.

Health Minister, Dr Dan Poulter, said: “Nobody should have to suffer the indignity of mixed-sex accommodation. Thanks to the hard work of NHS staff and the Government’s rigorous monitoring system, the number of patients placed in mixed-sex accommodation has reduced by 99%.

“Any hospitals still placing patients in mixed-sex accommodation faces fines of £250 per patient, per day for every breach. I am pleased that we are making good progress and improving dignity for patients.”

King’s College Hospital says it plans to make improvements to the estate over the coming months in order to meet the regulations in full. Measures at Stafford Hospital are being held up by the recent announcement by a panel of independent investigators that the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust is no longer a viable organisation in the long-term. Several scandals, and doubts over the future of the hospital, mean improvements have been delayed. Meanwhile, The Royal London Hospital continues to be the subject of the world’s largest hospital redevelopment project, which will provide world-class facilities for all patients.

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