Same-sex accommodation


Same-sex declaration - eliminating mixed-sex accommodation

The Trust is pleased to confirm that we are compliant with the Government’s requirement to eliminate mixed-sex accommodation, except when it is in the patient’s overall best interest, or reflects their personal choice.

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 for example where patients need specialist equipment such as in Intensive Care, Coronary Care, and High Dependency Units, or when patients actively choose to share for instance elderly couple being admitted together.

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 our audits on our website at www.lnwh.nhs.uk and on patient information boards across the Trust.

The Trust Single Sex Accommodation Action Plan is available for further information about improvements made to date, ongoing actions and monitoring arrangements.

What is same-sex accommodation?

At our Trust, we provide same-sex accommodation. This means we provide sleeping areas, and toilet and washing facilities that are for men or women only. This could be in:

  • A same-sex ward, where the whole ward is occupied by either men or women only
  • A single room
  • A mixed ward, where men and women are in separate bays or rooms.

Improving same sex accommodation at the Trust

Every patient has the right to receive high quality care that is safe, effective and respects their privacy and dignity. Privacy and dignity is a key patient experience priority for the Trust. The Trust is 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.

What does this mean for patients?

At all times, staff will ensure that the privacy and dignity of patients will be upheld. Patients admitted to The Trust can expect to find the following: 

  • For routine, planned admissions, patients can expect to stay in same-sex bay accommodation
  • 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 (e.g. 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.

There may be situations when the need to provide highly specialised care takes priority over segregation, and providing same-sex accommodation may not be possible. Should you require care in mixed-sex accommodation we will explain why this is happening to you and your relatives or carers, and we will ensure that your privacy and dignity is respected at all times. Examples include:

  • If you attend A&E or are in the theatre recovery area following an operation
  • If you need immediate or urgent investigation and intervention or cardiac monitoring you may be admitted to one of our specialist areas such as our Intensive Care, High Dependency or Coronary Care Units. This ensures that you are in the safest clinical environment for the level of care that you require at this time. Once your condition has improved and we believe it is safe to transfer you, we will place you in a same-sex accommodation on the appropriate ward for your medical condition
  • If you receive a blood transfusion in the Haematology Day-care Unit at Northwick Park Hospital or care on the Medical Day-care Unit at Central Middlesex Hospital where you are not required to undress.

Actions taken to improve our facilities

  • Partition screens are available within the Intensive Care, Coronary Care, and High Dependency Units to further support the achievement of patient privacy and dignity
  • The Endoscopy waiting rooms now provide separate waiting areas for men and women
  • Frosted glass in ward corridors to improve dignity
  • The use of ‘Do Not Enter’ signs on bed-side curtains to enhance patients’ privacy.

We continue to ensure that our staff understand and comply with our standards for privacy and dignity and this will continue via our training and education programmes. A key aspect of this work is to ensure the understanding of our patients who are nursed in a single sex bay on a mixed sex ward.

Monitoring and reporting

We welcome feedback from patients about their experiences and our patient experience feedback devices have questions related to same sex sleeping and toilet facilities. We also carefully review any complaints or concerns raised by patients about their experience. In addition breaches in compliance are reported the Trust Board in the Matrons report.

For further information please contact our Patient Advice Liaison Service (PALS) on 020 8869 5118 or 020 8453 2569.