Hospital to end mixed sex facilities

IPSWICH Hospital is taking extra steps to improve patient dignity by stamping out mixed sex facilities.The hospital was recently criticised for not offering enough single sex accommodation to emergency patients.

Rebecca Lefort

IPSWICH Hospital is taking extra steps to improve patient dignity by stamping out mixed sex facilities.

The hospital was recently criticised for not offering enough single sex accommodation to emergency patients.

But the Heath Road site said it had already addressed many of the concerns and was going even further than necessary by attempting to create single sex toilets.

The changes come after health secretary Alan Johnson announced earlier this year that hospitals would not be paid for care delivered in mixed sex environments from 2010/11.

Then at NHS Suffolk's board meeting its chief executive, Carole Taylor-Brown, said she was unhappy that in 2008 Ipswich Hospital failed to provide single sex accommodation for 35 per cent of patients when they were first admitted.

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She added: “It is not acceptable for emergency units not to provide single sex accommodation.

“It is a dramatic time for patients and they want to know they have the dignity of being seen in a single sex environment. Anything else is absolutely unacceptable.”

Gwen Collins, Ipswich Hospital's director of nursing and quality, said that within recent weeks the hospital had changed its procedures to make sure more people were seen in single sex wards.

She said: “Anyone who sleeps overnight will be in single sex bays.

“We are now compliant with the regulations in all areas. The intensive therapy unit and Accident & Emergency are exempt.”

She added that the hospital had bid for an extra �500,000 to enable it to transform all its toilets and washing facilities into single sex areas too.

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