Privacy and dignity
Eliminating Mixed-Sex Accommodation
Putting respect and dignity at the heart of our services
RCHT Statement of Compliance with Eliminating Mixed Sex Accomodation
Every patient has the right to receive high quality care that is safe, effective and respects their privacy and dignity. We at the Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust are 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.
Over recent years the Trust has carried out improvement works across all its hospital sites to ensure that gender segregation can be provided on each of its ward areas. This predominantly takes the form of gender specific bays with bathroom provision as close as possible to the bays. This therefore provides single sex sleeping accommodation with the ability to access bathroom facilities without having to walk through the sleeping areas of the opposite sex.
Since April 2013, there have been six non-clinically justified mixed sex breaches which occurred on one occasion as a result of exceptional circumstances around the timing of a patientprocedure.
I can confirm therefore that the RCHT is compliant with the Government's requirement to eliminate mixed-sex accommodation, except when it is in the patient's overall best interest. 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 to ensure patients safety (for example where patients need specialist equipment such as in the Intensive Therapy Unit]), or when the Trust experiences an unexpected increase in the number of patients requiring admission.
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 the audit on a monthly basis to the Trust Board.
What do we mean by same 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 or assistance 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" or "mixed gender" bathroom which may be used by both men and women but a member of staff will be with you and no other patient will be able to access the bathroom whilst it is in use.
RCHT will not turn patients away just because a "right-sex" bed is not immediately available
Will there be times when same-sex accommodation isn't possible?
Sometimes, the need for faster, effective treatment is greater than the need to provide same-sex accommodation. This might happen if you need urgent, highly specialised or high tech care. In this situation, staff will be expected to keep you informed and move you into same-sex accommodation as quickly as possible.
At all times we will ensure our staff take practical steps to protect patient privacy and dignity at all times, including making sure that private conversations cannot be overheard.
What do I do if I think I am in mixed sex accommodation?
If you are in mixed sex accommodation we expect the clinical team caring for you to explain why you are in mixed sex accommodation and what plans they have made to minimise the time you are there.
If you think you are in mixed sex accommodation please talk to the nurse-in-charge, the ward sister/charge nurse or the matron for the areas to immediately allay any concerns.
We want to know about your experiences. A patient experience questionnaire is available locally for you to feedback on your experiences, if you have not been given one, please any a member of the ward staff for one to complete.
What have we done to deliver Same Sex Accommodation?
Since April 2009 the Trust has undergone an intensive build programme with the objective of achieving single sex accommodation across the Trust's three sites. The programme has primarily focussed on the improvement of bathroom and toilet facilities to facilitate better segregation for men and women.
In addition, minor works include modesty screening, window frosting and improvements to shower facilities have also taken place across the sites.
New, improved toilet and wash facility signage has been introduced across our site, reinforcing our commitment to 'your privacy being our responsibility'.
Our continued commitment to eliminating mixed sex accommodation
Work on our accommodation does not stop; we continually review our commitment to eliminating mixed sex accommodation as the Trust moves forward with it's Clinical Site Development Plan.