All new hospitals built in England must have only single patient rooms, health infrastructure chiefs have confirmed, requiring an overhaul of many trusts’ current proposals.
Leaders of the New Hospitals Programme said the NHS needed to be “brave”, with the move marking an end for multi-bed bay wards and representing a major change in hospital design.
Previously, NHS trusts were expected to consider a minimum of 50% single rooms when refurbishing or building new facilities, but HSJ revealed in September that officials were considering a 100 per cent requirement.
Natalie Forrest, senior responsible officer for NHP, said England was “behind the times” on single patient rooms.
She said: “If we really want to look for evidence of why patients should have the ability to sleep in privacy and choose to socialise in social areas… we need not look very far. Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Europe, the US – where they wouldn’t dream of building a hospital that didn’t provide single bedroom occupancy.”
Ms Forrest, who is also a nurse, acknowledged an “anxiety” among NHS staff that they can’t care for patients in single rooms as well, and stressed the need to combine them with “digital technology”.
“I have said we need to be brave and take on new challenges, and this is one of those brave decisions the NHS needs to stand up and move forward with.”
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Source: HSJ, 13 December 2022