Government repeats promise to end mixed-sex mental health wards

The government has repeated a Labour promise that NHS trusts will be fined if they fail to end mixed-sex accommodation, including mental health wards.

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said mixed-sex wards will be abolished by the end of the year, and that reporting of breaches of rules on mixed-sex accommodation would be introduced from the start of next year. Any failing trusts would be fined.

In January last year Labour health secretary Alan Johnson had said NHS trusts which failed to provide single-sex accommodation, including that for psychiatric patients, will be fined from this year.

The Healthcare Commission found in 2008 that two-thirds of of psychiatric inpatients in England and Wales are still sharing sleeping accommodation or bathrooms with the opposite sex.

In its election manifestoes Labour had continually promised to end mixed-sex wards.

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