Declaration on single sex accommodation

Declaration on single sex accommodation

North Middlesex University Hospital NHS 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 share the room where they sleep with members of the same sex, and same-sex toilets and bathrooms will be close to their bed area.

Sharing with members of the opposite sex will only happen when clinically necessary, for example when patients need specialist equipment, or when patients actively choose to share.

If our care should fall short of the required standard, we will report it. 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 internally at the monthly patient safety and quality committee, a sub-committee of the trust board which is chaired by a non executive director. 

One of the trust’s key priorities is to improve the patient experience. A vital aspect of this is by ensuring the privacy and dignity of each patient we see and treat, which incorporates providing single sex accommodation. This is outlined in our bed management policy.

Our new and refurbished facilities means we can ensure we provide high quality single sex accommodation for our patients. 

We are compliant with the Department of Health guidance regarding single sex accommodation and this has been formally declared to the Care Quality Commission.
What does compliance in same sex accommodation mean for our patients?
Same sex accommodation means;

  • The 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 close to your bed area.
  • It is possible that there will be both male and female 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.

You may share some communal space, such as day rooms 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 a toilet or take a bath (eg, you need a hoist or a special bath) then you may be taken to a “unisex" bathroom that is used by both men and women, but a member of staff will be with you, and other patients will not be allowed in the bathroom at the same time as you are using it.
Further information on our work on same sex accommodation
Every patient has the right to have high quality care that is safe, effective and respects their privacy and dignity.

North Middlesex University Hospital NHS Trust is committed to providing every patient with same sex accommodation.

Patients who are admitted to our hospital will only share the room where they sleep with members of the same sex and same sex toilets will be available close to their bed area.
Individual clinical need and patient safety will overtake single sex requirements and we, as a hospital, must ensure that patients requiring urgent care are put in the safest possible clinical environment suitable to their needs; this includes the intensive care unit, critical care unit and the acute assessment unit. Single sex accommodation for such emergency patients will be provided as soon as the patient’s condition improves.

In some instances the patients choose to share, for example the renal unit, haematology day clinic, and chemotherapy day unit.
How will we measure our success?
This will be measured by our patients views on their experience; we anticipate an overall improvement in the scores for single sex accommodation our national inpatient survey. We are already seeing more positive patient feedback in relation to this issue from locally conducted surveys.
What do I do if I think that I am in mixed sex accommodation?
We are an open organisation and welcome feedback from our patients in order to improve the care we provide.

If a patient is not satisfied with the type of accommodation offered, this can be escalated to their ward manager. Where clinically appropriate, alternative placement will be offered or measures to maximise privacy and dignity will be implemented.
You may also contact the patient advice and liaison service (PALS) on 020 8887 3172 if you have any comments or concerns.

Paul Reeves 
Director of nursing and midwifery
Executive lead

Page last updated May 2014