Up to £30m is to be spent this financial year on single-sex facilities for mental health wards to improve women's safety, mental health director Professor Louis Appleby has promised.

The money will be allocated via a national bidding process and comes out of the£130m capital fund for investment in adult mental health services launched in April last year.

Bids are invited for the development of female-only facilities, such as crisis houses and women-only areas of wards. Trust managers have been told that ideally women should have access to segregated areas. The money follows last year's report by the National Patient Safety Agency, which revealed 19 allegations of rape by women in mixed-sex wards.