Same gender public hospital stays promised for SA patients

Public hospital patients in South Australia will now be given more choice to share wards with people of the same gender.

Chief public health officer Stephen Christley said feedback from patients had prompted SA Health to alter its policy.

"Some patients have expressed the need for more privacy when staying in hospital overnight, saying they feel uncomfortable sharing their accommodation and bathroom facilities with the opposite sex," he said.

"Sometimes it's an age-related thing, sometimes it's just a perception-related thing but some people had a degree of discomfort being in wards with people of a different gender and so this is an attempt to accommodate that sensitivity."

Dr Christley said staff would talk with a patient and their family during the admission process about any preferences and the patient's medical needs.

"If clinically appropriate, patients will then be accommodated in a room or bay that is either male or female only, with access to a bathroom that is also same-gender," he said.

He promised that patients unable to go straight into such wards would have priority to get there within 24 hours.

"There will be some situations where the specialised or urgent care required will take priority over providing same-gender accommodation, such as in emergency departments, intensive care units and high dependency units," he said.

"Day surgery units and dialysis or cancer treatment areas may also not be covered by the policy as the patients are only in these areas temporarily."

Information about the policy is available at