HOSPITAL patients in Hampshire face being placed on mixed-sex wards, despite NHS trusts facing potentially steep fines for doing so.

According to data from NHS England, the Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust recorded 105 instances of ‘unjustified’ mixed-sex accommodation in the 12 months to April 2018.

Rules have been in place since 2011 to ensure that patients only have to sleep in single-sex accommodation, which campaigners say is vital for protecting patients’ dignity.

Hospital trusts that breach the rules by placing a patient in accommodation with the opposite sex face a £250 fine each time.

Campaign group The Patients Association said it is “concerned” about increasing numbers of rule breaches.

Chair Lucy Watson said it was “hugely important” for trusts to fully commit to providing “appropriate care” to their patients.

“When people are admitted hospital they often feel very vulnerable,” she said.

“People don’t like to be seen in bed in general, especially while wearing a hospital gown.

“They are going to be much happier knowing that they did that in a room full of people of the same sex rather than the opposite.

“People need to feel that their privacy and dignity are being properly attended to.”

Over the 12 month period, the trust’s worst performance was in December 2017, when 21 patients were placed in mixed-sex wards.

The rate at which breaches were occurring in April - the most recent month data is available - was 0.1 per 1,000 patients.

A trust spokesman said the breaches related to patients who remain in its critical care wards once they are well enough to step down to a normal acute ward.

He added: “Critical care is mixed sex due to the high care needs and therefore exempt from the single sex requirements. However, when patients are well enough to move back to a normal ward which are subject to single sex segregation they are classified as mixed sex breach if they remain in critical care.

“We have not had any negative feedback from patients in critical care who are technically classified as being in a mixed-sex environment because they have remained in the critical care ward longer than necessary.

“However, we are working hard with partners to improve our flow through the hospital to ensure that we can create sufficient bed capacity to both step down patients from critical care once they become well enough and also admit our emergency patients to acute wards.”