Common Health Questions

Will I be offered a same-sex hospital ward?

If you need to go into hospital, in most cases you’ll be offered same-sex accommodation.

What is same-sex accommodation?

Same-sex accommodation means:

  • a ward occupied by only men or only women, with its own toilet and washing facilities
  • single rooms with same-sex toilet and washing facilities (preferably en suite)
  • multi-bed bays or rooms occupied by only men or only women, with their own same-sex toilet and washing facilities

You shouldn’t have to pass through opposite-sex accommodation, toilets or washing facilities to reach your own toilet and washing facilities.

Same-sex accommodation can be provided in single-sex and mixed-sex wards.

Why will some wards still be mixed sex?

Patients often benefit from being treated in the same area as other patients with similar conditions, so that they can be treated by appropriate specialist staff. Therefore, wards are often arranged by speciality rather than gender.

Men and women can be separated within a mixed-sex ward by placing them in separate bays. A bay is a sleeping area, enclosed on three sides with solid walls or full-height partitions (not curtains). The fourth side may be open or partially closed. If the fourth side is open, it should not face onto a bay occupied by people of the opposite sex. Bays typically have four to six beds each.

What will happen if I’m put in mixed-sex accommodation?

If you’re put in accommodation with members of the opposite sex, you’ll be moved to same-sex accommodation as soon as possible. Until that time, staff will take extra care to protect your privacy, particularly when you’re sleeping and using toilets and washing facilities.

What should I do if I’m not happy with my hospital accommodation?

If you're unhappy with your location on a ward, you can:

  • report your situation to a member of staff on the ward
  • ask a family member or carer to do this for you


Last Updated: 26 November 2012