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Privacy and Dignity


Everyone working in the NHS has a vital part to play in achieving the goal of eliminating mixed-sex accommodation by April 2010, and ensuring that all patients feel as comfortable and relaxed as possible during their time in hospital.

Privacy, dignity and same-sex accommodation

The NHS is committed to making sure that all patients receive high-quality care that is safe, effective and focused on their needs. The NHS Constitution states that all patients have the right to privacy and to be treated with dignity and respect. We believe that providing same-sex accommodation is an effective way of helping to achieve this goal and of giving all patients the best possible experience while they are in hospital. 

What do we mean by mixed-sex and same-sex accommodation?

Mixed-sex accommodation is where men and women have to share sleeping areas or toilet and washing facilities. Same-sex accommodation is where specific sleeping areas and toilet and washing facilities are designated as either men-only or women-only.  Same-sex accommodation can be provided in:

  • same-sex wards, where the whole ward is occupied by men or women only
  • single rooms, or
  • mixed wards, where men and women are in separate bays or rooms.

Toilet and washing facilities should be easily accessible and, ideally, either inside or next to the ward, bay or room. Patients should not need to go through sleeping areas or toilet and washing facilities used by the opposite sex to access their own.