HC Deb 27 June 1996 vol 280 cc195-6W
Mr. Barron

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what are the minimum requirements for the amount of space surrounding a bed in an NHS hospital ward; and what weight is given, when setting such requirements, to evidence on(a) the avoidance of cross-infection, (b) the ability to provide effective bedside diagnosis and treatment, and (c) the need for confidential discussions between patient and carer; [34761]

(2) what guidelines exist to govern (a) the minimum provision of facilities and (b) the amount of space surrounding beds in NHS hospital wards; who enforces such guidelines; and what data he collects on adherence to such guidelines; [34763]

(3) what are the minimum requirements for provision within NHS hospital wards to ensure adequate (a) toilets, (b) bathrooms, (c) sluice rooms, (d) consultation areas, (e) treatment areas and (f) administration areas. [34766]

Mr. Horam

Guidance on facilities to be provided in different types of hospital wards and recommended bed spaces is detailed in design guidance (health building notes) produced by National Health Service Estates, an executive agency of the Department of Health. The recommended amount of space surrounding a bed varies in accordance with the level of dependency of the patient, from 7.2 sq m in an adult acute ward to 25.5 sq m for a bed in intensive care.

A number of factors are considered in the recommendations, including the nature of bedside activities, the avoidance of cross-infection, the clinical equipment used and the associated ergonomic requirements, as well as patients' privacy.

Rather than proposing minimum requirements, the guidance suggests an appropriate mix of bed areas, sanitary facilities, clinical treatment areas, consultation and office spaces, depending on the nature of the condition of the patient.

It is for NHS trusts to take appropriate advice. Health building notes are intended to give good practice advice and guidance on the briefing and design implications of planning new buildings and of adapting or extending existing buildings. The guidelines are not enforced, and data on adherence to them is not available centrally.