The same-sex accommodation: your privacy, our responsibility programme aims to all but eliminate mixed sex accommodation from hospitals in England by 2010.
The Department of Health is committed to ensuring that every patient receives high quality care that respects their right to privacy and dignity. The national Eliminating Mixed Sex Accommodation (EMSA) policy is committed to providing every patient with same sex accommodation. The EMSA principles are that patients who are admitted to hospital should only share the room where they sleep with members of the same sex, and same sex toilets and bathrooms should be close to their bed area, so they do not have to pass through areas used by the opposite sex to reach these facilities.
The NHS Operating Framework for 2011/12 requires all providers of NHS funded care to confirm whether they are compliant with the national definition:
‘to eliminate mixed sex accommodation except where it is in the overall best interests of the patient, or reflects their patient choice’.
Please click these links to find the declarations for our local provider organisations:
All NHS providers use a self-assessment of the provision of same sex accommodation within their organisation to check they are compliant with the EMSA principles.
The self-assessment leads to a plan to ensure continued delivery and improvement of same sex accommodation during 2011/12. The plans indicate areas of weakness and describe clear activities and timescales for corrective action. The plans are agreed as part of the contract requirements and are regularly reviewed and monitored between providers and commissioners.
Please click these links to find the EMSA plans for our local provider organisations:
Breaches of EMSA principles
There are very few circumstances where mixing both sexes can be justified. These are mainly confined to patients who need highly specialised care, such as in critical care units.
A small number of patients (especially children and young people) will actively choose to share with others of the same age or clinical condition, rather than gender.
All other circumstances where a patient may find themselves sharing sleeping accommodation or toilet facilities with patients of the opposite sex are classified as breaches of the EMSA principles.
Patients admitted to hospital are encouraged to talk to staff about any concerns they may have about their care. If you have concerns relating to sharing facilities and feel there may be a breach of the EMSA principles, please discuss this with the Matron, Ward Sister, or nurse in charge of the ward or department.