All NHS hospitals in the UK will be required to treat patients in single sex wards from April 2011, and those who do not comply will be fined.

Emergency and intensive care departments will still be allowed to treat patients in mixed sex wards provided the decision is considered to be in the best interest of the patient.

Hospitals that do not comply will risk losing a part or all of the payment for the treatment of each patient affected.

Patients should also not be required to pass through opposite sex facilities to reach their own single-sex facility.

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said that it is vital that the NHS supports patients by protecting their dignity.

“The provision of single sex accommodation is essential for this,” Lansley added.

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