By the end of June 2009, no patient should share a sleeping area, washroom or toilet facility with a member of the opposite sex. This will mean that patients will sleep in single sex bays with designated bathroom and toilet facilities within a mixed sex ward area, and the Trust is now modifying wards and increasing the number of toilet and bathroom facilities.
The are exceptions where the need to admit someone in an emergency over-rides the need for segregation. There is also an exception where patients are treated in intensive care and coronary care, which are highly specialised areas.
Philippa Potter, Associate Director of Nursing said: " The vast majority of our patients are either treated in single sex wards, single rooms or single sex bays within a larger ward area, with access to separate wash and bathroom facilities. We want to ensure that this is the case for all our patients, unless there are good clinical reasons for not doing so."
"We are now making a number of changes to ward areas that will help further with segregation and this includes the building of more toilets and bathrooms, and in some cases establishing single sex wards. We will also be changing our operational policies to help support this initiative."
Mrs Potter added: " We know that our patients, the public and the Department of Health acknowledge, however, that clinical priorities have to take precedence in some circumstances and that hospital will need to have some flexibility to ensure that patient's clinical needs are met."
As part of the project, the Trust will continue to ask patients regularly for the views on a number of aspects of their care and experience while they are in hospital. This helps the Trust get up-to-date patient feedback, which helps pick up any issues faster.
Patients perceptions of whether they shared sleeping, toilet and bathroom facilities will also be monitored through the annual national inpatient survey. Last year 23% of patients felt that they had shared a sleeping area with a member of the opposite sex when they were first admitted.
Mrs Potter said: "This is an important area for us and our patients and we will always do our best to provide appropriate surroundings even in difficult clinical situations."
For further information please contact
Patrick Butler, Public Relations Manager, Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust. Tel: 01722 425170.