I am amazed that patients still have to suffer the degradation of mixed wards.

Only just a week ago, a friend was in Hillingdon Hospital, really quite poorly, and was told she would have to move to the men's area.

She stood her ground and refused, remaining where she was.

Why should she have been subjected to this added distress?

Hospitalisation is a time when you need reassurance and comfort, and privacy and dignity.

My mother, who is 92, was admitted to Hillingdon Hospital last year.

Up until that time she had been fortunate enough not to experience a stay in hospital, so you can imagine the horror when subjected to a partially naked man strolling through the ward.

Recent reports in the media state from April next year the practice of mixed wards must cease or hospitals face financial penalties.

In the meantime, why can this not be effective immediately, saving all patients loss of dignity and embarrassment?

I would be interested to hear of other readers' experiences concerning this.