Conservative plans will see the number of single rooms in NHS hospitals in England almost double, the party’s health spokesman has claimed.
It would mean patients admitted to hospital for planned care will be able to choose whether they want to stay in a single room or on a bay while they are treated, the Tories claim.
The plan – which will cost almost £1.6 billion over five years – will increase the proportion of beds in single rooms from 28% to 55%.
During the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham, shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley announced that there will also be an expansion in the number of isolation rooms to protect against the spread of infectious diseases such as MRSA.
The 45,000 extra single rooms would be paid for out of existing budget surpluses and would guarantee single rooms for mental health patients and mothers giving birth in maternity wards.
To tackle the spread of hospital infections, 7% of single rooms would be specifically reserved for those suspected of having diseases such as MRSA and C difficile.
Mr Lansley also said all mothers in maternity care would have access to a single room and all mental health patients would have single rooms.
“No patient will be in mixed-sex accommodation,” he said.
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