FINANCE: The foundation has found a short term “operational solution” to avoid huge fines from a surgical admissions lounge (SAL) in breach of tougher new rules on single sex accommodation.

A board report on the new rules said in January that Salford Royal could potentially be fined up to £16.5m in 2011-12 if commissioners decided breaches at the SAL were not “clinically justified”.

The eight bed ward has patient trollies separated by cubicle curtains, and two unisex toilets, one ambulant and one disabled, which the foundation believed was not in line with the new guidelines.

At the time the report stated that an “immediate solution” was not possible.

But a spokesperson for the foundation today said it had found an “operational solution” – two floors of the SAL will now be designated as single sex areas.

“There are no identified financial risks for the SAL, only if there is an unjustified breach with a penalty of £250 per patient per day,” she added.