Mixed-sex accommodation breaches at lowest level since records began

Three SHAs report no breaches as London trusts struggle to drive down figures

The number of NHS patients being treated in mixed-sex environments has dropped below 250 for the first time since mandatory reporting began 18 months ago.

Figures released for July 2012 show 249 breaches, compared to 325 in June and 11,800 when the Department of Health (DH) began recording incidents in December 2010.

In all, 162 trusts submitted data, with 135 - or 83% - reporting no breaches.

Trusts are fined for every patient treated in a mixed-sex environment

Similar to the feedback from June this year, the strategic health authority (SHA) with the most incidents was NHS London, with 159 reported breaches; followed by NHS North West with 26. However, for the first time three SHAs reported no breaches. They were NHS North East, NHS Yorkshire and Humber and NHS East Midlands.

The hospital trust most affected was King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, which reported 55 breaches at King’s College Hospital. The second highest number of incidents was reported by St George’s Healthcare NHS Trust, with 25 incidents at St George’s Hospital in Tooting. There were also 22 breaches reported at South London Healthcare NHS Trust, all at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Woolwich.

The worst-performing primary care trusts were NHS Greenwich with 23 breaches, NHS Croydon with 21, and NHS Lambeth with 20.

A statement from King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust said most of its breaches related to endoscopy, cardiac catheter laboratory recovery and angiography recover areas, an issue that would be addressed with the opening this autumn of a new endoscopy facility.

The statement adds: “We have the necessary facilities, resources and culture to ensure that 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 and bathrooms will be close to their bed area.

“Sharing with members of the opposite sex will happen only when clinically necessary, for example critical care, or when patients actively choose to share.”

Click here for a full breakdown of the figures.

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