As a patient you deserve privacy and you deserve to be treated with dignity. It is well known that patients prefer to be cared for in areas with other patients of the same sex. We are committed to upholding the national standard that every patient is accommodated in single sex areas.
At all of our hospitals the majority of our wards have bays occupied by either men or women – not together. However some of our patients need a very specialized level of care and are treated by specially trained staff and this may mean that men and women are cared for together in one area – this will be for the minimum amount of time as possible.
What is single sex accommodation?
This can include:
- A ward that is occupied only by men or only by women, and has its own toilet and washing facilities
- Single rooms with single-sex toilet and washing facilities (preferably en-suite)
- rooms occupied by only men or only women, with their own same-sex toilet and washing facilities.
- Multi-bed bays (A bay is a sleeping area that is enclosed on three sides with solid walls. The fourth side may be open or partially closed. Bays typically consist of four to six beds each. A hospital ward can be made up of a number of bays.)
You shouldn’t have to pass through opposite-sex accommodation, toilets or washing facilities to get to your own facilities or to reach other hospital services.
What does this mean for patients?
The room / area where your bed is will only have patients of the same sex as you.
It is possible that there will be both men and women patients in your 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 have to share some communal space, such as waiting rooms, day rooms or dining rooms. It is very likely that you will see both men and women patients as you move around the hospital (e.g. on your way to x-ray or to 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.
Protecting your privacy and dignity
To protect your privacy and dignity if you require assistance with your own personal hygiene needs, visitors and relatives may be asked to leave that area.
If you need help to use the toilet or take a bath (e.g. you need a hoist or special bath) then you may be taken to a unisex bathroom used by both men and women. A member of staff will be with you, and other patients will not be in the bathroom at the same time.
The NHS does not turn patients away just because a “single sex” bed is not immediately available. This means that sometimes we have to move patients around within or between wards so as to ensure we can offer all patients a bed in single sex sleeping area.
What is mixed-sex accommodation?
Mixed-sex accommodation is where patients of the opposite sex have to share sleeping areas, toilet or washing facilities. Sharing with members of the opposite sex will normally only happen when patients need specialist equipment or treatment such as Intensive Care. Even then we try to manage the consequences of this in a way which protects privacy & dignity.
What if I am placed in mixed sex accommodation?
Our aim is to always provide separate sleeping areas for male and female patients (other than in specialist units). In exceptional circumstances, this may not be possible. If this happens, patients will be separated as soon as possible. Until that time, staff will take extra care to safeguard privacy, particularly when patients are sleeping or using the toileting / bathing facilities
You, your relatives / carers will be informed why the situation has occurred, what is being done to address it and who is dealing with it. You should be told when it is likely to be resolved. If you find yourself in this situation, you may wish to make a complaint. Please speak to a member of staff and they will help you.
Changing places facilities
Changing Places facilities are available at the Diana, Princess of Wales Hospital for those with complex health needs. They are located near the main entrance and include a range of specialist equipment including a height adjustable bench, hoist and shower.
Access to the Accessible Changing Place is via a RADAR key. If you do not have a RADAR key and need to use the Accessible Changing Place, please contact our Security Team for assistance, either via their office or on 03033 304879.