In June 2021, NEAC wrote to the Minister of Health to raise concerns about the practice of placing male and female patients in the same room in New Zealand Hospitals.
NEAC advised that it considers it unethical to place female patients in situations that can cause distress and compromise their safety and may in addition violate the Code of Patient Rights, leading to potential legal challenges to the practice. NEAC noted that the United Kingdom National Health Service has prohibited mixed gender bedding since 2010, and hospitals are now required to routinely and publicly report on the practice.
NEAC advised the Minister to adopt a nationally consistent policy to prohibit this practice and begin routine public reporting.
In July 2021, the Minister responded to NEAC. The Minister noted that the Ministry of Health and Standards New Zealand's review of Ng(external link)ā Paerewa Health and Disability Services Standard(external link) upheld the decision to have the 2021 Standard use gender-neutral language. The Minister advised that criterions 1.4.2 and 3.2.1 of the Standards address the issues outlined by NEAC.
The Minister encouraged NEAC to engage with the development of the New Zealand Health Charter to set out the values and principles of the new health system, for the Health and Disability System Review.