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Wednesday, 26 January, 2000, 18:54 GMT
Hospitals slow to scrap mixed sex wards

ward Government aims to make wards single sex


Progress on scrapping mixed sex wards in hospitals is "disappointing", a government minister has admitted.

The Department of Health has set itself a target of eliminating the number of wards shared by men and women in 95% of health authorities by the end of 2002.

Health minister Lord Hunt told peers: "I am disappointed with the progress that has been made so far." But he said the government was "redoubling" its efforts.

"In practice, it is our intention that almost all mixed sex accommodation will disappear. I understand the urgency. I assure you the government is determined to see that this target is achieved."



I am disappointed with the progress that has been made so far
Lord Hunt
There are five hospital trusts at which capital schemes will come to fruition after 2002, but the possibility of building temporary segregated washing and toilet facilities was being "actively explored".

Lord Stoddart of Swindon, a Labour peer, said the government's efforts were being "undermined by the authorities in the hospitals themselves".

He said it was "completely and utterly unacceptable to the public" that mixed sex wards were not phased out.

The government has committed 40m to achieving its single sex wards' goal.

The Patients' Association has long campaigned for abolition of non-segregated accommodation and the Association of Community Health Councils says many patients feel "uneasy and uncomfortable" on mixed sex wards.

Many women on mental health wards claim they have been sexually abused in mixed sex accommodation, a BBC survey revealed.

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See also:
03 Mar 99 |  Health
1.1bn NHS makeover
07 May 99 |  Health
Government publishes 360m NHS building plan

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