Patients and Visitors

Your Privacy, Our Responsibility


Same Sex Accommodation - Declaration of Compliance 2014 / 2015

South Tyneside 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 bath / shower rooms 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 Unit and our Accident and Emergency Resuscitation Room, or when patients actively choose to share (for instance our Oncology and Haematology Day Unit).


We do not anticipate any situation where our care would fall short of the required standard, however in the unlikely event of this occurring 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 on our website.


Same Sex Accommodation

What does same-sex accommodation mean?

  • Same-sex accommodation means only patients of the same sex will sleep in the same room as you and use the same washing and toilet facilities.
  • It is possible that there will be both men and women cared for on your ward but they will not share your sleeping area. This means that you may share some communal space such as the day room, and you are likely to see patients of the opposite sex as you move around the ward or between different parts of the hospital.
  • 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.
  • Your toilet and bathroom will be close to your bed area. However if you need to use the disabled toilet or use an assisted bath / shower with specialist equipment then you may be taken to a "unisex" bathroom used by both men and women. If this is necessary then a member of staff will be with you, and other patients will not be in the bathroom at the same time.


Same sex accommodation: Your Privacy, Our Responsibility (Department of Health, 2009)

  • At South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust we continually strive to improve the patient experience when using any of our services and receive feedback through the National Inpatient Surveys conducted every year and by local surveys conducted within the Trust.
  • We have an annual programme of ward and department refurbishments, which includes providing toilet and shower facilities in a multi bedded bay, and creating additional en suite single rooms wherever possible.
  • We have also improved our signage and information on same-sex accommodation to ensure our patients understand what facilities are available and where and how to access them.


What happens if I am not cared for in same-sex accommodation?

  • The majority of patients will always be in same-sex accommodation. However, there will be occasions when it is not possible to care for patients in a same-sex environment, such as when admitted to the Intensive Care or High Dependency Care Unit. This is most likely to happen if a patient needs emergency or specialist care. In that situation clinical (medical) need will take priority over keeping the patient apart from other patients of the opposite sex. This is to make sure patients receive appropriate treatment as quickly as possible. However we will, wherever possible, inform you and your family prior to arrival to the unit that you may be cared for in a mixed sex bay.
  • Every effort to maintain your privacy and dignity whilst in that area, for instance by using screens and curtains. You will be moved to a same-sex area as soon as it is safe to do so.
  • If you do not understand why you have been placed in a mixed-sex environment, or you are anxious about being in a mixed-sex area, please speak to a member of ward staff.

How can I be sure that my privacy and dignity is important to your organisation?

  • We have Privacy and Dignity Champions across all of our services. Their role is to ensure that best practice is implemented in their area and to inform their manager of any concerns.
  • We ensure that policies are in place that support the implementation of privacy and dignity in the workplace by making clear the roles and responsibilities of all staff. Each policy has monitoring arrangements.
  • Ward managers regularly talk to the patients and their families to find out from patients what they think about the care they are receiving. This includes asking about privacy & dignity issues.
  • We undertake local survey across all services in the Trust on a frequent basis. This enables patients to think about the care they have received so that we can celebrate what we do well and act on feedback to improve the care we provide.
  • We also take part in a national survey every year, this is a much larger survey which includes questions on privacy and dignity issues. The results let us know if we've improved from the previous year and how we are doing against other trusts in England. If you receive a questionnaire at home we would really appreciate it if you can take the time to complete it and send it back in the prepaid envelope, as we will listen to your views.


We want to know about your experiences.

Please contact our Customer Services Department on 0191 4041072 or 0191 4041073, or via email customer.services@stft.nhs.uk and they will be happy to help.