Single Sex Accommodation
Listening to what you want
It is clear from what patients tell us that being in mixed-sex accommodation can compromise their privacy and dignity at a time when they may already be feeling vulnerable. The most common concerns include physical exposure, being in an embarrassing or threatening situation, noise, and the possibility of other patients overhearing conversations about their condition.
Women, particularly those who are elderly, are most likely to worry about being in mixed-sex accommodation, although male patients also say that they feel reluctant to talk openly and find it embarrassing to be in a mixed-sex setting. Some patients are also strongly opposed to mixed-sex accommodation for cultural or religious reasons.
Statement of compliance
Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is pleased to confirm that we are compliant with the Government’s requirement to eliminate mixed-sex accommodation, except when it is in the patient’s overall best interest, or reflects their personal choice. We have the necessary facilities, resources and culture to ensure that patients who are admitted to our hospitals will only share the room where they sleep with members of the same sex, and same-sex toilets and bathrooms will be close to their bed area.
Sharing with members of the opposite sex will only happen when clinically necessary (for example where patients need specialist equipment, monitoring or care such as in an Intensive Care Unit, or when patients actively choose to share for instance in the Renal Haemodialysis Unit.
If our care should fall short of the required standard, we will report it. We will also set up an audit mechanism to make sure that we do not misclassify any of our reports. We will publish the result of those audits in our Quality Report.
What does this mean for patients?
Other than in the circumstances set out above, patients admitted to Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust can expect to find the following:
- The room where your bed is will only have patients of the same sex as you
- Your toilet and bathroom will be just for your gender, and will be close to your bed area
It is possible that there will be both men and women patients on the ward, but they will not share your sleeping area. You may have to cross a ward corridor to reach your bathroom, but you will not have to walk through opposite-sex areas.
You may share some communal space, such as day rooms or dining rooms, and it is very likely that you will see both men and women patients as you move around the hospital (eg on your way to X-ray or the operating theatre).
It is probable that visitors of the opposite gender will come into the room where your bed is, and this may include patients visiting each other.
It is almost certain that both male and female nurses, doctors and other staff will come into your bed area.
If you need help to use the toilet or take a bath (eg you need a hoist or special bath) then you may be taken to a “unisex” bathroom used by both men and women, but a member of staff will be with you, and other patients will not be in the bathroom at the same time.
The NHS will not turn patients away just because a “right-sex” bed is not immediately available.
Our commitment to you
We are committed to making further improvements including:
- Increasing the number of single rooms.
- Increasing the number of single rooms with en-suite facilities.
- Continuing to listen to your views via surveys and comment cards
- Mounting an information campaign to tell patients, visitors and the public about same sex accommodation and what they can expect
- Making staff aware of what we mean by same sex accommodation and be able to explain this to patients
- Actively monitoring any occasions where patients have been mixed and investigate the reasons for this.
- Providing guidance for our staff on the actions they should take and the people they should tell, if they need to mix sexes in their ward.
What do I do if I think I am in mixed sex accommodation?
Please contact the matron on your ward if you have any comments or concerns. Your matron will be happy to help you.
You can find out more about the same-sex accommodation programme at: