The Department of Health is seeking funding bids from mental health trusts for a £30m pot to improve inpatient safety, with priority given to ending mixed-sex accommodation.
Mental health tsar Louis Appleby called for schemes to develop women-only facilities, including wards and crisis houses, and women-only areas of wards, encompassing bedrooms, bathrooms and toilets and activity rooms, to ensure women need not enter mixed areas if they do not want to.
The funding was announced last November following ongoing concerns about mixed-sex accommodation and a National Patient Safety Agency study which documented over 120 sexual incidents on wards from November 2003 to September 2005.
A Community Care survey based on freedom of information requests from 44 of 70 mental health trusts found over 300 incidents from 2003 to 2006, suggesting the NPSA’s figure was an underestimate.
Contact the author