Trust’s commitment to delivering same sex accommodation

Posted on 18th August, 2010

We are proud to confirm that mixed sex accommodation has been virtually eliminated in all our inpatient services. Every person using our inpatient service has the right to receive high quality care that is safe, effective and respects their privacy and dignity. Devon Partnership NHS Trust is committed to providing every person with same sex accommodation, because it helps to safeguard their privacy and dignity when they are often at their most vulnerable.  People who are admitted to any of our inpatient services 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.  In most of our inpatient services the sleeping and bathing areas for men and women are in clearly separated areas. However, there are certain circumstances where, for reasons of clinical need, this is not the case. These are:

  • Most inpatient units have a small number of single bedrooms which are designated as ‘high dependency’ or ‘extra care’. These are often separated from the general ward area and are used to accommodate people who are particularly unwell and need a constant high level of care. These bedrooms will be adjacent and may be occupied by men or women. The privacy and dignity of people being cared for in these areas is ensured through the high level of nursing care.
  • Some wards for older adults have been designed and laid out in a square around a central courtyard to allow the free movement of people whose condition may cause confusion or disorientation. On these wards the bedroom areas for men and women are not separated by partition doors which would impede such movement. Where necessary additional screening is fitted to prevent a loss of privacy. 
What does this mean for people who use our services?
Other than in the circumstances set out above, people admitted to Devon Partnership NHS Trust services can expect to find the following:
  • The room where your bed is will only have people of the same sex as you
  • Your toilet and bathroom will be just for your gender, and will be close to your bedroom 
  • There will be both men and women 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.
  • Most communal space, such as day rooms or dining rooms, will be used by both men and women but there will be a sitting room reserved for women only
  • It is probable that both male and female nurses, doctors and other staff will need to come into your bed area on occasion.
  • 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 people will not be in the bathroom at the same time.

The NHS will not turn people away just because a right-sex bed is not immediately available

What are our plans for the future?
The Trust will continue to improve the facilities in its hospital wards. In 2010/11 it will be carrying out a £4.6 million improvement programme for its inpatient services to older adults in Exeter, Torbay and Barnstaple. 

How will we measure success?
The Trust Board of Directors will closely monitor the delivery of same sex accommodation. We will seek feedback from people who use services through questionnaires, a programme of independent ward visiting and comments made through the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS). 

How will we manage situations where we cannot meet the standards for delivering same sex accommodation?
  • We have in place a reporting system to ensure that the Trust is made immediately aware of any breech.
  • Where a breech occurs we will assure ourselves that there were good care reasons and that also anyone effected is consulted and happy with the arrangements
  • Where necessary we may ask people to move from one location to another, however this will be avoided wherever possible
  • If absolutely necessary a person may need to be admitted to a service further from home, however this will be avoided wherever possible
What do I do if I think I am in mixed sex accommodation?
We want to know about your experiences. Please contact PALS on 0800  0730741 if
you have any comments or concerns.

Iain Tulley                                              Alison Moores
Chief Executive                                      Executive Nurse

To find out more about delivering same sex accommodation click here or to see what's happening in the South West click here