"The mixed sex wards are utterly ..."

About: Macclesfield District General Hospital

(as a relative),

What I liked

The mixed sex wards are utterly disgraceful. My elderly mother cannot sleep for men snoring and the experience creates a total loss of dignity that is hardly conjucive to recovery.

There is no excuse for such treatment of patients. They should be entitled to privacy and dignity.

What could be improved

Clean single sex wards staffed by competent professionals where patients are not terrified of catching MRSA.

Story from NHS Choices

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Response from Macclesfield District General Hospital

At East Cheshire NHS Trust we do all that we can to prevent the situation where patients have to stay in mixed sex accommodation. However, in short stay areas or assessment areas where there is critical equipment this may be unavoidable. All our hospitals comply with Department of Health guidelines on single sex accommodation and even where the guidance allows mixing of sexes (i.e. in short stay areas) we always place great emphasis on privacy and dignity.

We have now changed our approach to delivering mixed sex accommodation on the Medical Assessment Unit (previously Ward 3), and mixing only occurs when there is severe pressure on beds.

The mixing of male and female patients on the same bay is continually monitored. On the rare occasions when patients are mixed (for example emergency admission to the Medical Assessment Unit) staff are required to resolve the situation as soon as possible and report back to management.

The Trust takes cleanliness and the reduction of hospital acquired infections very seriously. Handwash basins have been installed at ward entrances with signs encouraging anyone entering the ward to wash their hands. An annual ‘Deep Clean’ rolling programme has been set up for all ward areas, which was acknowledged and praised by the Department of Health as an example of 'Good Practice'. The Trust has, for the third consecutive year, reduced the number of MRSA bacteraemia cases recorded. MRSA screening is used for certain patients already and the Trust is looking to expand this screening process.

We are disappointed about your mother’s experience. This Trust takes privacy and dignity very seriously: in the 2006 national adult inpatient survey East Cheshire was amongst the highest performing 20% of trusts for giving patients enough privacy when being examined or treated, and when discussing their condition or treatment. Please accept our apologies for any distress caused to you or your mother.