Maintaining privacy and dignity for our patients is a key priority and over the past year we have invested over £1.6 million to improve the ’patient experience’ on our wards.
One of our most important actions has been to ensure that men and women staying in our hospitals do not have to share their accommodation with patients of the opposite sex. Being comfortable in your surroundings is a key part of maintaining dignity and our Trust Board is fully committed to eradicating mixed sex accommodation.
Over the last year we have carried out one of the most far-reaching ward improvement programmes ever undertaken by Ashford and St Peter’s. To date we have refurbished eleven wards across the Trust, including all four wards at Ashford Hospital, to ensure they comply with the single sex agenda as well as meeting the very latest standards on hygiene and cleanliness.
In January 2009, the Secretary of State for Health announced an intensive drive to all but eliminate mixed sex accommodation and Strategic Health Authorities and Primary Care Trusts offered their support to providers to help them achieve this. Trusts and other providers were required to complete a ’declaration of compliance’ by the end of March 2010, stating whether or not they were able to declare the virtual elimination of mixed sex accommodation and its continued delivery. This will be a major performance target for organisations, and to demonstrate our continued commitment we have published our declaration on this website.
The work we have undertaken means that all our patients can now be accommodated in single sex accommodation, which means either;
- Same-sex wards (the whole ward is occupied by either men or women but not both)
- Single rooms with adjacent or en-suite same-sex toilet and washing facilities
- Same-sex bays with adjacent or en-suite same-sex toilet and washing facilities
The majority of our wards comprise of the latter set-up (same sex bays) which means we can still provide the specialist clinical care patients require.
We have always tried to ensure patients are accommodated in bays of the same sex, but this work – which has included building work, refurbishments and introducing additional bathroom and toilet facilities – will make this much easier and has enabled us to eliminate mixed sex accommodation in all but the most difficult of circumstances.
Of course there are some areas and occasions where this isn’t possible and a patient’s clinical need overrides their need for single sex accommodation, such as in our intensive care and high dependency units. In these circumstances our staff work hard to ensure that patients, while they are receiving what is often life-saving treatment, are put at their ease and maintain their dignity as much as possible.
If it is absolutely impossible to provide separate accommodation in rare and extenuating circumstances, then our staff will be expected to rectify the situation as soon as possible, whilst safeguarding the individuals’ dignity and keeping the patient informed about why this has happened, what we are doing to address it and how long this will take. These situations are taken very seriously and each case is reviewed to ensure we learn from the experience. From March 2010 we have been obliged to report any breach of our ‘single sex standard’ to the Trust board.
Our target is to ensure no patients are accommodated in mixed sex bays (apart from the clinical exception areas mentioned earlier) after 1st April 2010. So far we have succeeded, if however we fail to meet this target then commissioners – in our case this is predominantly NHS Surrey – will not pay us for the care of these patients. It’s that important, to us and to the Department of Health that we work hard to get this right.
Declaration of Compliance for Same-sex Accommodation
At Ashford and St. Peter's Hospitals NHS Trust, we are proud to confirm that mixed sex accommodation has been virtually eliminated in both our hospitals.
Every patient has the right to receive high quality care that is safe, effective and respects their privacy and dignity. We 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.
We are proud to confirm that mixed sex accommodation has been virtually eliminated in our Trust. Patients who are admitted to any of 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 by. Sharing with members of the opposite sex will only happen based on clinical need, such as critical care areas.
Changing Places Facilities
We have a Changing Places room in Outpatients Ashford on the first floor.
This facility is open 08.30 – 18.00.
Changing Places toilets are different to standard accessible toilets (or "disabled toilets") as they have extra features and more space to meet the needs of people who use them.