Executive promises to abolish mixed-sex psychiatric wards

Thirteen mixed-sex psychiatric wards in the Royal Edinburgh
Hospital are to be abolished by the end of the year, the Scottish
Executive promised last week, writes David

The open plan wards, known as Nightingale wards, have long been
criticised for lack of privacy.

Scottish health chiefs had pledged to get rid of the mixed-sex
wards by March 2002, but some have lingered on. Now the Executive
has said all of them will be gone by December. There are more of
them at the Royal Edinburgh than any other Scottish hospital.

Murray Duncanson, chief executive of NHS Lothian primary and
communities division, said: “Sleeping areas are already
separate within the hospital. Capital investment of £150,000
will ensure that female patients do not have to pass through male
patient areas to get to toilets and bathrooms.”

The Department of Health is also abolishing mixed wards in England,
and has experienced similar delays in doing so. Despite promising
to abolish them by April this year, three NHS Trusts still have
them, admitted a Department spokeswoman this week.

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