Mixed sex accommodation breaches have dropped sharply since the launch of a tougher performance regime four months ago

The data emerged in the first month that trusts will be fined £250 for every day a patient is forced to share accommodation with the opposite sex.

Department of Health figures published last week show that between December 2010 – the first month for which figures were collated nationally – and April this year, the total number of patients who were cared for in mixed accommodation fell from 11,802 to 2,660.

However, performance worsened at 30 of the 251 trusts that submitted comparable data, analysis by HSJ has revealed. Barts and the London Trust, for example, had 433 breaches in April, the highest of any trust and 21 per cent higher than in December.

The figures, which measure the number of patients placed in mixed accommodation, mean the trust is in line for a fine of at least £108,000. The actual fine could be substantially higher if patients waited longer than a day before being moved to single sex wards.

A spokeswoman said the trust had invested £800,000 over the past 12 months in site redevelopments in an attempt to meet the rules.

The next four worst performing  trusts were South London Healthcare Trust, Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals Trust, Buckinghamshire Healthcare Trust and Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells Trust.

The fines are being enforced through new contract requirements for 2010-11. Announcing them last year, the DH said primary care trusts would have “no excuses” not to impose the sanctions. Trusts are only required to report breaches in sleeping accommodation.

South London Healthcare Trust said there were no breaches in any of  its inpatient wards and there were “firm plans” to eliminate mixed sex accommodation in endoscopy units.

Buckinghamshire Healthcare Trust said its April figures were wrong and it would be sending the correct data to the DH.

Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells Trust chief nurse Flo Panel-Coates said the problems would be resolved when the Pembury Hospital opens in September.

Trusts with highest rates in April, compared with December performance

OrganisationBreaches December 2010Breaches April 2011% change
Barts and the London355433+ 21
Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells364339-6
Buckinghamshire Healthcare*72123+70
Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals377113-70
South London Healthcare26100+284

*New figures being submitted to DH