We take our patients’ need for privacy and dignity as they are cared for in our hospitals extremely seriously.
The Trust will work to continuously improve the environment of care for patients. We understand how important it is that healthcare professionals meet the privacy and dignity needs of all patient groups. We will work with service users to ensure that we are maintaining high standards and this will be reported through our Patient Experience and Dignity Steering Group which is chaired by the Deputy Director of Nursing and Midwifery. We will work closely with our governors and members to ensure that privacy and dignity remains a top priority. We will work closely with service users through the Healthwatch, Disability Forum Groups and others to ensure that we listen to the people who use our services on a daily basis. We will collect information on patients’ experience of our services and we will put plans in place to make improvements based on the results. We will work with service users to help us in the design of new facilities such as the Emergency Care Project.
Help us maintain our patients’ privacy and dignity
We want you to use your mobile device in hospital, as an important way of keeping in touch. However, the trust has a legal duty to protect the privacy and confidentiality of all our patients.
It’s important that when you use your mobile device in hospital you’re careful not to:
- Take anyone’s photo without permission, including staff or people in the background of your photos e.g in busy waiting areas. It is important to remember that taking a photo or video could breach another patient’s privacy and cause them distress.
- Make video calls in a way that means the other person can see any other patients, visitors or staff members.
- Make calls or use your phone in a way that disturbs other patients.
- Use your mobile device around sensitive equipment where there is a particularly high risk of interference. Signs will make it clear that you shouldn’t use your phone in that area. Switch it off or enable ‘airplane mode’. Do not just leave the device on the silent or vibrate setting as it could still affect medical equipment.
We are compliant with the Government 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 such as in our Critical Care Department and our Accident and Emergency Resuscitation Room), or when patients actively choose to share (for instance our Chemotherapy Day Unit and Day Treatment Centre).
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 results of that audit in trust board reports.
What does same sex accommodation mean for patients?
Other than in the circumstances set out above, patients admitted to QE Gateshead 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 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 (e.g. 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 to use the disabled toilet or use an assisted bath (e.g. if you need a hoist) 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
What do I do if I think I am in mixed sex accommodation?
In the first instance, please speak to the Ward Sister or Staff Nurse in Charge who will try to resolve your concerns. We want to know about your experiences. Please contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) on 0191 445 6129 and they will be happy to help.