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Privacy & Dignity

This page gives you details about how we work to maintain the privacy and dignity of patients during their time with Newcastle Hospitals.

This includes information about same-sex wards and facilities.

National Dignity Day

Dignity Day logoWe support National Dignity Day.

Our programme ‘Delivering Dignity’ involves staff, patients and visitors to share and apply good practice so people in our hospitals are always treated with dignity and respect.

Dignity covers all aspects of daily life including respect, privacy, autonomy and self-worth.

The 10 Point Dignity Challenge describes the values and actions that high quality care services should have.

More details

For more details about dignity in care, visit:

To contact the Newcastle Hospitals about dignity in care, please email:

Our Declaration of Compliance

The Newcastle Hospitals 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 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 that same-sex toilets and bathrooms 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 a Critical Care Unit), or when patients actively choose to share (for instance in a renal dialysis unit).

If our care should fall short of the required standard, we will report it. We will also set up an audit mechanism, through our Clinical Assurance Tool, to make sure that our reports are correct. We will publish the results of that audit as part of regular (at least quarterly) reports to our Trust Board.

What does this mean for patients?

Same-sex accommodation means:

  • the room where your bed is will only have patients of the same sex as you
  • your toilet and bathroom will be just for your gender, and will be close to your bed area.

It is possible that there will be both men and women patients on the ward, but they will not share your sleeping area. You may have to cross a ward corridor to reach your bathroom, but you will not have to walk through opposite-sex areas.

You may share some communal space, such as day rooms or dining rooms, and it is very likely that you will see both men and women patients as you move around the hospital (eg on your way to x-ray or the operating theatre).

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.

If you need help to use the toilet, or take a bath (eg you need a hoist or special bath), then you may be taken to a “unisex” bathroom used by both men and women, but a member of staff will be with you, and other patients will not be in the bathroom at the same time.

The NHS will not turn patients away just because a “right-sex” bed is not immediately available.

What are our plans for the future?

We have a clear plan to ensure that our patients are cared for in an appropriate environment that meets their needs. Our matrons monitor this on a daily basis and we will respond quickly to any concerns that are expressed by patients, visitors or staff.

Our major building programme has ensured that the Freeman Hospital and the Royal Victoria Infirmary sites provide the most modern facilities for patients. This includes a high number of single en-suite cubicles and four-bed bays, to support the delivery of same-sex accommodation.

How will we measure our success?

Patient feedback kioskWhile in hospital, we may ask our patients to complete a short survey which asks for their thoughts on our accommodation, toilet and washing facilities.

We have developed 'real-time' electronic surveys which patients can complete.

The surveys are held on kiosks (as in the photo) at locations across our hospitals which give patients the chance to have their say on the service they have received.

What to do if you think you're in mixed-sex accommodation

We want to know about your experiences.

If you have any comments or concerns about your accommodation in hospital, please contact:

  • Patient Relations Department, tel: 0191 223 1382, or
  • North of Tyne Patient Advisory and Liaison Service (PALS) on Freephone, tel: 0800 032 0202.

Same Sex Accommodation Action Plan for 2015-2016

EMSA Action Plan March 2015 - 113.89kb PDF

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