Same sex ward rules fine threat

Kent Messenger Maidstone - - FRONT PAGE -

Maid­stone and Tunbridge Wells Hos­pi­tal Trust risks a fine of up to £11,500 for breach­ing gov­ern­ment pol­icy on sin­gle-sex wards.

Ac­cord­ing to data from NHS Eng­land, the Trust recorded 46 in­stances of ‘un­jus­ti­fied’ mixed­sex ac­com­mo­da­tion in the 12 months to April 2018.

Rules have been in place since 2011 to en­sure male and fe­male pa­tients are treated in sep­a­rate bays, which cam­paign­ers say is vi­tal for pro­tect­ing pa­tients’ dig­nity.

More than half of NHS trusts in Eng­land now en­sure men and women are sep­a­rated at all times.

Hos­pi­tal trusts that flout the rules face a £250 fine each time - although penal­ties were relaxed be­tween Jan­uary and Fe­bru­ary dur­ing the win­ter cri­sis.

Cam­paign group The Pa­tients As­so­ci­a­tion said it is “con­cerned” about in­creas­ing num­bers of rule breaches.

Across the UK, fail­ure to com­ply with the rules - which ap­ply even if pa­tients do not stay the night - more than dou­bled from 675 in April ‘17 to 1,584 the fol­low­ing year.

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