The Department of Health this month jubilantly announced “record” success in its efforts to reduce mixed sex accommodation.
The DH figures showed unjustified breaches had fallen to just over 1,079 in September, down from around 2,236 in April, when the new monthly monitoring and fines kicked in.
Without claiming to be psychic, it is possible to predict the number of breaches is likely to be reduced further, possibly by around 200, when the figures for October are published next month. But the government will be cheeky if it claims credit.
The reason is thus. The South East Coast region had 302 breaches in September. The worst offender is Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells Trust, which had 190.
This continues a trend that has seen it either the worst or the second worst offender in the country – it has swapped top place with Barts and the London Trust several times since April.
However, the Kent trust is confidently forecasting an improvement. On 21 September it fully opened its new Tunbridge Wells Hospital at Pembury, with its 100 per cent single rooms, and closed the troublesome old Kent and Sussex hospital.
In April it stated it “will be able to confirm compliance [with the mixed sex directive] by October 2011”. No announcement has been made yet, but logic suggests it is only a matter of time.
So how did the rest of the region fare? To be honest, pretty well. Out of the 12 acutes, seven recorded no breaches in September, while four recorded 35 between them.
The only problem remains Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals Trust. It had 77 breaches and lacks a new hospital.