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Pandemic’s role blamed for trust’s 1,955 mixed-sex ward breaches

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East Kent University Hospitals Foundation Trust reported 1,955 mixed sex accommodation breaches in November, the month before the new variant of the virus caused a huge increase in covid admissions across the county.

Such breaches occur when patients share sleeping accommodation with the opposite sex.

The trust, which struggled last summer to prevent COVID-19 outbreaks in its wards, has recorded 7,249 such breaches in the last 12 months. This is a year-on-year increase of 1,112 per cent – according to the trust’s latest board papers.

East Kent FT’s board papers stated COVID-19 had “contributed” to the high number of breaches, and that it was “imperative that we review and act on this”.

According to the papers, the trust’s interim chief nurse and chief operating officer have a “plan to address” the problem.

In a statement to HSJ the trust said: “Our hospitals are very busy as a result of increased patients with COVID-19.

“To keep covid and non-covid patients separate and as safe as possible we have sometimes needed to care for both male and female patients in a bay. This is always done in discussion with the patients affected.”

Rachel Power, chief executive of the Patients Association, told HSJ they had “long supported” moves to abolish mixed sex accommodation breaches, which she described as “an affront to patients’ dignity”.

But she said she understood why NHS providers might choose mixed sex accommodation if it was a “viable route to saving lives, whether of COVID-19 patients or others urgently needing treatment”.

Read full story (paywalled)

Source: HSJ, 27 January 2021

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