The Health Secretary, Alan Johnson, has announced that, from 2010/2011, hospitals who fail to provide separate sleeping accommodation and toilet facilities for men and women will face financial penalties unless it can be clinically justified. A £100 million privacy and dignity fund has been set up to help trusts make the appropriate adjustments to hospital accommodation. Improvement teams will be set up to go into hospitals that need support over the next six months.

It is claimed that hospitals that treat patients in mixed-sex wards will not be paid for their care.

It is understood that the fund will be allocated to the strategic health authority following submission of plans to the Department of Health on how they intend to significantly reduce mixed-sex accommodation. The plan is for the money to be allocated in April and work begun on wards by the end of June.