PERFORMANCE: Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust overtook Barts last month to become the trust with the most mixed sex breaches after a visit by NHS West Midlands identified a reporting loophole.

The SHA discovered the trust was not recording breaches when cardiac monitor patients experienced mixed sex accommodation in its Acute Medical Unit. The trust was told to change this after the visit in October.

As a result it recorded 150 breaches of the Department of Health’s guidelines on mixed sex accommodation in December and 214 in November. Overall it had a breach rate of 26.1 for December.

This shows a massive increase from the 10 recorded for September and preceding months.  There were 18 breaches in August, 21 in July, 63 in June, 46 in May and 32 in April.

Barts and the London was second highest nationally in December with 130 breaches and Brighton and Sussex was third with 95.

In a statement for HSJ, Colin Ovington, director of nursing and midwifery at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, said:  “Following a visit by the strategic health authority in October 2011, we were advised that we must report patients who are cared for in mixed sex bays requiring cardiac monitors on our Acute Medical Unit. 

“This impacted on the number of breaches that the trust subsequently reported,” he said. 

“In November 2011 this peaked at 214 breaches.  Some (168) were due to the cardiac monitor bay but the remainder were due to bed capacity across the trust,” he added. 

“Work was completed in December 2011 to separate the cardiac monitor IT system to enable AMU to have two single sex bays with three cardiac monitors in each bay and December’s figures show a corresponding decrease.”