More than a dozen mixed-sex psychiatric wards in the Royal
Edinburgh Hospital are to be abolished by the end of the year, the
Scottish executive has promised.
Scottish health chiefs had pledged to get rid of the mixed-sex,
open-plan wards – known as Nightingale wards – by March 2002
because of lack of privacy, but some still remain. Now the
executive has said all will be gone by December, including the 13
at the Royal Edinburgh.
Murray Duncanson, chief executive of NHS Lothian primary and
communities division, said alterations costing £150,000 “would
ensure that female patients do not have to pass through male areas
to go to toilets and bathrooms”. Sleeping areas are already
The Department of Health is also abolishing mixed wards in England,
and has experienced similar delays. Despite promising to abolish
them by April this year, three NHS trusts still have them, a DoH
spokesperson said this week.