University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (UCLH) has demonstrated its commitment to improving privacy and respect for its patients by eliminating mixed sex accommodation from our hospitals.
When patients are admitted to UCLH they will be nursed in a room or bay within a ward with patients of the same sex. Where possible the wards are arranged so that male bays and female bays are in separate areas. Sharing with members of the opposite sex will only happen in exceptional circumstances and be based on clinical need (such as in critical care wards).
Patients can also expect to have access to toilets and bathrooms which are close to their bed and designated male or female.
Patients at UCLH will only share accommodation with a member of the opposite sex if they:
- Require specialist facilities that can only be provided in critical care areas
- Actively choose to share, for example, children and toung people's areas
It is possible that there will be both male and female patients on the same ward but patients of the opposite sex will not be accommodated in shared bays of beds.
Patients may have to cross a ward corridor to reach a bathroom but they will not have to walk through areas occupied by patients of the opposite sex to get there.
Patients may share some communal space, such as day rooms, and it is very likely that visitors and healthcare professionals of both sexes will come into shared bays of beds.
If patients need help to use the toilet or take a bath, they may be taken to a ‘unisex’ bathroom but a member of staff will accompany them and other patients will not be in the bathroom at the same time.
If you are unhappy about your bed arrangements please speak to the admissions office or the nurse looking after your care. We will try to find you a more suitable space. Safeguarding your privacy and dignity is a high priority for all our staff.
Improving privacy and dignity for our patients is one of the top priorities for UCLH. This is our statement of compliance:
University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation 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 where patients need specialist equipment such as in critical Ccre, or when patients actively choose to share for example, children and young people's areas).
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 at the Patient Experience Committee.
Further information on our work to deliver same sex accommodation
Every patient has the right to receive high quality care that is safe, effective and respects their privacy and dignity. University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is committed to providing every patient with same-sex accommodation because it helps to safeguard their privacy and dignity when they are often at their most vulnerable.
We are proud to confirm that mixed-sex accommodation has been eliminated in our organisation. Patients who are admitted to any of 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 by exception based on clinical need (for example where patients need specialist equipment such as in the critical care unit), or when patients choose to share.
What does this mean for patients?
Other than in the circumstances set out above, patients admitted to University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust can expect to find the following.
What are our plans for the future?
During 2011/12 we addressed the last few areas where we have mixed-sex accommodation, although some will remain for clinically justifiable reasons. We will always try to respect our patients' preferences for single-sex accommodation, but there may be occasions when this is impossible, for example in areas such as critical care and coronary care and sometimes for emergency admissions. This is part of our broader programme to respect the dignity and privacy of our patients.
How will we measure success?
We will measure how well we are doing through patient surveys and regular audits of the standards that we have set ourselves in this important area.
What do I do if I think I am in mixed sex accommodation?
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 men and women 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 the toilet or take a bath (eg you need a hoist or special bath) then you may be taken to a "unisex" bathroom used by both men and women, but a member of staff will be with you, and other patients will not be in the bathroom at the same time.
The NHS will not turn patients away just because a "right-sex" bed is not immediately available
We want to know about your experiences. Please contact UCLH’s patient advice and liaison service (PALS) on 020 3447 9975 or by email on firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any comments or concerns.