Your privacy and dignity

What is mixed-sex accommodation?

Mixed-sex accommodation is where members of the opposite sex have to share sleeping accommodation, toilets or washing facilities. The NHS is phasing this out.

What is same-sex accommodation?

Same-sex accommodation means:
  • a ward that is occupied by men only or women only and has its own washing and toilet facilities,
  • single rooms with same-sex toilet and washing facilities (preferably en-suite), or
  • multi-bed bays or rooms occupied solely by men or women, with their own same-sex toilet or washing facilities.
You shouldn't have to pass through opposite-sex accommodation, toilets or washing facilities to reach your own toilet and washing facilities.

Will I be turned away if no same-sex accommodation is available?

No. Our priority will always be to admit patients and treat them properly. Staff will be expected to take extra care to safeguard your privacy and dignity and to move you into same-sex accommodation as quickly as possible.

Is mixed-sex accommodation ever OK?

Most people accept that providing fast, effective patient care is sometimes more important than providing same-sex accommodation. This may include situations where patients need urgent care, highly specialised or high-tech care. Where mixing occurs, it must be in the interest of all the patients affected.

What about accommodation for children and young people?

The need to ensure high standards of privacy and dignity applies to all areas in the hospital, including children’s and young people’s wards. However, many children and young people are more concerned about sharing with people their own age than with members of the same sex. Children and young people should always be given the choice.
Toilet and washing facilities for children and young people don’t need to be same-sex, as long as they accommodate only one patient at a time, and can be locked by the patient (with an external override for emergency use).

Will this mean longer waiting lists?

Our aim is to provide rapid, high quality care for all patients in the best environment possible without having to choose between speed or quality.
We are committed to maintaining the progress we have made in cutting patient waiting lists, whilst we also continue to improve the quality of care.

How will I know if the same-sex policy has been implemented on my ward?

At Medway Maritime Hospital, we take the privacy and dignity of our patients very seriously and we believe in being open and honest about when we are caring for patients in same-sex bays, and when we are not. This is why we have introduced Same-Sex Patient Safety Crosses.
The crosses are displayed at the entrance to each ward and show each time a bay contains patients of both sexes. The days of the month are clearly marked on the cross and show our performance in providing single-sex accommodation.