Royal Berkshire Hospital has received the highest number of mixed-sex accommodation breaches in the UK, according to recent NHS data.

Mix-sex accommodation was banned by the NHS in 2010 to maintain patient dignity and privacy when in a vulnerable position during a hospital stay.

It stated that patients should not share wards, bathrooms or have to walk through areas occupied by patients of the opposite sex to get to the toilets.

Following an analysis by Medical Negligence Solicitors Blackwater Law, the hospital has seen 1,096 breaches in 2024 alone.

In March 2024 there were 30,475 finished consultant episodes within Royal Berkshire Hospital, which is a measure of how busy a trust is. During this time the hospital had a breach rate of 28.8 breaches per 1000 finished consultant episodes. For comparison, University Hospitals Sussex had a breach rate of 12.8

Commenting on the figures, Head of Medical Negligence at Blackwater Law Jason Brady said, "Mixed-sex accommodation breaches on NHS wards pose a number of issues, such a potential loss of privacy and dignity for patients.

“These breaches can result in significant psychological distress, particularly for those who are already in a vulnerable state. Patients may feel uncomfortable, which can hinder their recovery and overall well-being.

“The NHS recognise that it is fundamental to provide a safe, secure, and respectful environment for all patients. Preserving the dignity and mental health of patients and ensuring separate accommodations for men and women is a key component of quality care as set out by the NHS.”

This follows a widescale investigation by The Independent into MSA breaches across the country.

NHS leaders have voiced their concern that “care that was unthinkable a decade ago is at risk of becoming the new normal.”

A spokesperson from Royal Berkshire Hospital said: “High numbers of attendances to our Emergency Department, and limitations of our hospital estate are key driving factors of current mixed-sex accommodation breaches at our trust.

“However, we are committed to reducing this number: we discuss accommodation with all patients, continuously monitor patient feedback, and we held a round table event with staff and patient leaders recently to help tackle this challenge.”

When the ban was initially implemented, a trust would have been ordered to pay a fine of £250 per breach, however as occupancy numbers increased the fine was scrapped.

Had this still been in place, Royal Berkshire Hospital would be facing a potential fine of £96,750 in March 2024 alone, and a fine of £274,000 for the whole of 2024 so far.