Mixed-sex wards to be shut in Scotland

    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
    separate.

    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.

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