Hospital Wards

Health written question – answered on 11th March 2009.

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Photo of Andrew Lansley Andrew Lansley Shadow Secretary of State for Health

To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 25 February 2009, Hansard, columns 874-5W, on hospital wards: gender, what milestones he has set between now and June for the project; and how he will assess the effects of the changes following their implementation.

Photo of Ann Keen Ann Keen Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Health Services), Department of Health

A number of milestones have been agreed that relate both to the Department's programme plan for eliminating mixed sex accommodation and to the use of the associated 'Privacy and Dignity' fund.

The milestones for the Privacy and Dignity fund are:

strategic health authority (SHA) plans will be submitted to the Department by 9 March 2009; departmental ratification of the plans (which are to set out specific projects and timelines for improvements in the SHA regions) will take place in order to release the funds from 1 April 2009; and local improvements and changes must be implemented by the end of June 2009.

SHAs will report to the Department every two weeks following the submission, and approval, of their local plans, confirming actions taken and variance from the planned milestones. The Department will also require a report from each SHA confirming the delivery of the plan by the beginning of July 2009.

Use of the privacy and dignity fund is likely to be informed by the requirement set out in the Operating Framework for the NHS 2009-10, that

"PCTs are expected to work with their local providers to deliver substantial and meaningful reductions in the number of patients who report that they share sleeping or sanitary accommodation with members of the opposite sex".

PCTs are asked to ensure plans will be published by the end of March 2009.

The programme for eliminating mixed sex accommodation comprises four workstreams; to raise the focus, develop metrics assurance, facilitate spread of good practice and deliver targeted support. The key milestones themselves include:

establishment of an operations team and a broader programme governance infrastructure (February 2009); compilation of a communications strategy (March 2009); begin improvement team's engagement with trusts requiring support (March 2009) publishing a root cause analysis toolkit for local use by the NHS (April 2009);

'sharing good practice' event, (by end June 2009); and phased handover of improvement activity to local health community arrangements (from June 2009 onwards).

The Department: will consider the outcome of inpatient surveys in assessing the success of these changes.

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