Same sex accommodation

Every patient has the right to receive high-quality care that is safe, effective and respects their privacy and dignity.

The Royal Marsden is committed to providing every patient with same-sex accommodation because it helps to safeguard their privacy and dignity when they are at their most vulnerable.

We are proud to confirm that mixed-sex accommodation has been eliminated at our Trust. Patients who are admitted to any of our hospitals will only share the room where they sleep with members of the same sex, and same-sex toilets and bathrooms will be close to their bed area. Sharing with members of the opposite sex will only happen by exception based on clinical need (for example where patients need specialist equipment and monitoring such as in the Critical Care Unit).

We send mixed-sex accommodation data to NHS England each month. You can review these data at www.england.nhs.uk.

What does this mean for patients?

Other than in the circumstances set out above, patients admitted to The Royal Marsden can expect to find the following:

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 (e.g. 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 (e.g. 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?

At The Royal Marsden we are continually modernising our estate, and as part of that programme we take into consideration the need to maintain single-sex accommodation. For example, we have been facilitating the provision of en-suite bathrooms for our inpatient bays of beds as part of this modernisation programme.

Success will be measured in the patient satisfaction survey conducted every quarter, the results of which are available in the quarterly Integrated Governance Monitoring report and in the Care Quality Commission annual inpatient survey. Results are presented to the Board.

What do I do if I think I am in mixed-sex accommodation?

We want to know about your experiences. Please contact The Royal Marsden Help Centre and they will ask the relevant matron to call you if you have any comments or concerns.

Reviewed May 2017