Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Questions (232)

Billy Kelleher

Question:

232. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Health the Health Service Executive's policy in relation to mixed gender wards in hospitals; the number of hospitals that carry out this practice; the names of those hospitals and if there are mechanisms in place to end this practice; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15561/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The HSE has confirmed that it is not their practice to mix male and female patients in in-patient wards. However, while the situation is avoided where possible, all hospitals must optimise the availability and occupancy of all bed spaces. As a result, there are extenuating circumstances where mixed wards can occur in Emergency Departments, Acute Medical Assessment Units, Intensive Care Units and Coronary Care Units. In these situations best practices are in place to protect the privacy and dignity of patients. The ongoing improvements in ward accommodation and increase in single room accommodation aims to provide appropriate accommodation for all patients.

The HSE intends that all newly built acute hospital in-patient accommodation at new hospital builds, major additions to existing hospitals or major renovations to existing hospital in-patient accommodation areas should be made up entirely of single patient rooms and that all newly built non-acute hospital in-patient accommodation, when included within an acute hospital setting, should be made up of a minimum of 50% single patient rooms.

In relation to the particular queries raised by the Deputy, as these are service matters, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to him directly.