City's drive to increase single sex accommodation receives £1m boost


A £1m government cash injection is set to increase the number of single sex ward areas for hospital patients across Southampton.

The funding is part of a Department of Health campaign to improve the privacy and dignity of patients in hospitals across the country.

Southampton University Hospitals NHS Trust and NHS Southampton City have been awarded sums of £1,020,300 and £130,000 respectively.

SUHT runs Southampton General Hospital, the Princess Anne Hospital and Countess Mountbatten House, while NHS Southampton City has responsibility for the Royal South Hants Hospital, the Western Community Hospital and Moorgreen Hospital.

The money will be used to improve accommodation, including washing and bathing facilities, in places where patients have indicated it is most needed.

Julia Barton, associate director of nursing at SUHT, said: “We are pleased to have secured additional funding. It is great news for patients, as it will enable us to do more to improve the availability of single sex accommodation.

“Patient feedback has shown that separate accommodation and washing facilities are very important to patients and it has been a challenge to achieve this in all areas due to the design of some wards. People are also concerned with receiving the best clinical care possible – and of course that will continue to be our highest priority. All but one of our wards on the Older Person’s Unit are now single sex, and other wards are also considering this option, though it may not be viable for all specialities.”

She added: “Single sex accommodation plays an important role in improving the patient experience and, even though we have invested around £1.5m in tackling the issue over the last three years, there is still more we can do and this latest funding will help us progress further.” 

Kevin Liles, Corporate Operations Director for NHS Southampton City, said a major ward refurbishment programme had recently been completed at the Royal South Hants Hospital, but the additional funding would enable further upgrading of accommodation.

“The additional funding secured from the Department of Health will be used to improve accommodation across a further ward at the RSH by providing extra toilet and shower facilities for patients during their hospital stay. This is currently being implemented and will be completed by June 2009.”

Posted on Tuesday 5 May 2009