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
    Harris
    .

    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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