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QEH face fines after breaking mix-sex ward rules

QEH face fines after breaking mix-sex ward rules

Published by Grace Marner
5:23am 18th October 2019. (Updated at 5:25am 18th October 2019)

The QEH is facing fines after they broke rules banning mixed-sex wards.

NHS England guidance says trusts are expected to have a zero tolerance approach towards mixed sex accommodation.

In the 12 months to August, the The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King's Lynn, NHS Foundation Trust recorded 81 breaches of the mixed-sex accommodation rules, according to NHS figures.

qeh

 

That's an increase on the previous year where 75 instances were recorded.

The enforcement of the fines is left to individual CCGs who reinvest the proceeds from fines into patient care. 

NHS trusts are supposed to be fined £250 per patient each time they break the rules.

This would mean the The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King's Lynn, NHS Foundation Trust faced fines of £20,250 over the course of the year.

The figures do not include instances where mixed accommodation is considered justified, such as in intensive care.

woman in a hospital bed

Lucy Watson, chair of the Patient's Association charity, said failing to follow the rules could cause additional anxiety for people already worried about being in hospital.

“We are very concerned that so many people are still being placed in inappropriate hospital accommodation, many years after mixed-sex wards were supposedly abolished"

"Patients shouldn’t find themselves in a bed next to a member of the opposite sex, particularly if they need to use a bedpan, or have intimate care."

The ban applies to sleeping accommodation, which includes any area where patients are admitted on beds or trolleys even if they do not stay overnight.

qeh hospital king's lynn

 

Dr Sarah Scobie from Think tank the Nuffield Trust said the rise in recent years reflects a big increase in pressure on the system:

"This will obviously be difficult for patients, but the grim reality in an NHS with stretched capacity is that the alternative is sometimes being left on a trolley or having treatment delayed."

Chief Nurse Libby McManus said:

"There are occasions when it is clinically appropriate to have men and women in the same physical area, such as in the Intensive Treatment Unit (ITU) or in very acute phases of illness.

"A 'breach' of the mixed sex accommodation rules sometimes happens when patients are ready to move from these very acute environments to a normal ward.

"Patients at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital are managed with dignity at all times."

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