PERFORMANCE: Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust has experienced a significant increase in its breaches of the Department of Health’s rules on mixed sex accommodation.

According to latest data for April, the trust recorded 34 breaches and a breach rate of 3.1. This compares to none in March.                

Overall, NHS providers reported 559 breaches of the mixed sex accommodation guidance in relation during April 2012, compared to 461 in March 2012.

In a trust statement, Cathy Stone, Western’s director of nursing and patient safety, said: “During April, an area in one of our hospitals needed urgent maintenance, which deprived us of escalation capacity at a time when very large numbers of patients needed our care.

“Keeping patients safe always has to be our priority, and so during this very short period – which was rectified within three days – we were regrettably not able to maintain our usual high performance in terms of mixed sex accommodation. I should point out that none of these instances lasted more than two hours,” she added.

“We normally report zero breaches in a month and we fully expect an immediate return to those standards,” she said.

“Our commissioners are aware of the reasons behind the figures in April, and fully understand that our commitment to preserving our patients’ privacy and dignity has not wavered.”