Whittington Hospital is UK’s worst for mixed-sex wards
- Credit: Nigel Sutton
The Whittington Hospital has reported the highest number of mixed-sex accommodation breaches in the country, according to the latest NHS data.
In January there were 100 breaches at the Archway hospital, while the second highest number in England was 48.
The vast majority of hospital trusts reported no incidents of patients being kept in mixed-sex wards during the same month.
Figures for February showed an improvement at the Whittington, with 37 incidents recorded, but this was still the highest in the country.
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Nationally, there were 273 breaches reported in February, compared to 348 in January.
NHS England began collecting figures in 2010 following a government drive to eradicate all mixed-sex sleeping accommodation in hospitals, which includes areas where patients are admitted and cared for on beds or trolleys, even when they do not stay overnight.
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It does not include areas where patients have not been admitted, such as accident and emergency cubicles.
Each trust is required to submit data on the number of occurrences of unjustified mixing on a monthly basis.
The Whittington Hospital, in Magdala Avenue, says it is committed to completely eliminating mixed-sex accommodation by the end of the month, but patient groups in Islington have warned that shrinking budgets may make it difficult.
Shirley Franklin, from the Save The Whittington Hospital coalition, said: “This doesn’t surprise me. I think it must be to do with capacity – they don’t have enough beds. We never did find out exactly how many the Whittington has.
“Patient dignity and privacy has to be a priority, but money is tight and it’s only getting tighter.”
Mixed accommodation statistics for the Whittington were not submitted for previous months due to problems with a new electronic patient record system introduced at the hospital last year.
A spokeswoman from the Whittington Hospital said: “We are committed to caring for all our patients with dignity and respect and to providing every patient with same-sex accommodation.
“In December last year, we carried out a comprehensive review of all our wards to ensure we were meeting national guidelines and the NHS Constitution pledge.
“We immediately introduced an action plan to eliminate mixed-sex accommodation and by the end of March, we will be very near to achieving this.”