The drive to boost same sex accommodation at Southampton’s teaching hospitals has led to major changes on the wards.
Southampton University Hospitals NHS Trust was awarded a sum of £1,020,000 by the government in April as part of a Department of Health campaign to improve privacy and dignity for patients.
A national progress report on the Delivering Same Sex Accommodation programme, published this week by the DoH, praises the efforts being made by trusts across the country to improve standards of dignity and respect.
At SUHT, which runs Southampton General Hospital, the Princess Anne Hospital and Countess Mountbatten House, improvements in accommodation, washing and bathing facilities in many ward areas have already been completed.
A number of wards have completely changed to become exclusively male or female and bays in most of the Trust’s mixed gender wards are now same sex. Mixed sex accommodation is now limited to a very few areas where specialist care and observation is essential.
The extensive development programme has provided newly segregated washing, shower and bathing facilities and already over half the Trust’s wards have benefited from these improvements.
All relevant inpatient bays have been fully enclosed with doors, which is helping with privacy and noise reduction. Replacement signage for patient facilities is on order and temporary signs indicating segregated areas are in place.
Julia Barton, associate director of nursing, said: "Ensuring the highest levels of patient privacy and dignity is a top priority and we are delighted to be making such good progress.
"We are determined to provide better patient experiences and eliminate mixed sex bays, wards and facilities and are now into our second phase of improvements, for which the Trust has more than matched the DoH’s funding to continue to improve patient privacy and dignity."
She added: "It has been fantastic to review the monthly patient feedback data we collect and see that, in the last two months, over 25% of patients have already reported they are benefiting from these newly created segregated facilities."
The DoH’s privacy and dignity roadshow, which gives people the opportunity to talk about privacy, dignity and respect in the NHS, will be making a stop at Southampton General Hospital on Monday (7 September) from 10am.
Patients, staff and visitors will be able to visit the stand to find out more about Southampton’s commitment to ensuring privacy and dignity and give their views in a private video booth.
Posted on Friday 4 September 2009