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Home Industry News Hospitals could be fined for not providing single-sex wards

Hospitals could be fined for not providing single-sex wards

16th December 2010

Hospitals could soon be fined if they fail to ensure patients are able to stay in same-sex wards, with the health secretary arguing that this will form an "essential part" of NHS reform.

Under plans unveiled by the government this week, hospitals will be required to treat all patients – except those in intensive care or accident and emergency – in same-sex wards from the start of April 2011.

Where they fail to do so, they will have to record breaches of the new rules to the Department of Health, which will decide whether or not doctors were justified in insisting on a mixed-sex ward and will levy a fine if not.

Welcoming the renewed energy being placed on the provision of same-sex wards, the Patients Association has explained that the prospect of fines will encourage NHS hospitals all over the country to take greater care in how they treat "our most vulnerable".

However, citing ongoing budget cuts, chief executive Katherine Murphy said recently: "We are concerned that this may be accompanied by an increase in waiting times as patients wait for a bed on a single-sex ward."ADNFCR-8000103-ID-800295887-ADNFCR

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