Three men were treated in a  women-only section of a mental health hospital in Norwich, a report has revealed.

The incident, in the Sandringham ward of Julian Hospital, was among four breaches of single-sex regulations set out by NHS England in the space of a year made by the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust.

These regulations, which have been in effect since April 2011, require all NHS accommodation arrangements to be single-sex - including sleeping areas, toilets and day lounges.

The guidance was set by NHS England to "promote privacy and dignity" and "gender-sensitive care".

But on four occasions, in 2023, NSFT was unable to meet these requirements, resulting in breaches being made.

Three of these breaches happened in the same month and on the same ward.

A report going before the trust's board of directors this week stated that in January 2023, there were urgent admissions of three men onto the Sandringham ward of Julian Hospital who had to be placed onto a female bedroom corridor.

The incidents happened due to significant renovation work being carried out to the hospital's Blickling ward at the time - which impacted bed availability.

An NSFT spokesman said: "Two beds on the female corridor have been risk assessed and identified as appropriate for use by males in unavoidable circumstances like these.

"They are cut off from the rest of the female bedrooms by a locked door and have ensuites so that patients do not need to share bathrooms."

The final breach happened in June 2023 at one of the trust's facilities in Great Yarmouth's Northgate Hospital.

On this occasion, a female patient was cared for in a suite which is accessed via a male-only section of the hospital. At the time, the female half of a ward was closed for renovations and the ward was temporarily classed as a male one. The female patient treated there was given access to a communal area, causing the breach.

In her report, Dawn Collins, deputy chief nurse for NSFT, wrote: "In all four cases, proportionate safety mitigations were put in place, robust bed management processes are now in place."

Meanwhile, the annual audit into the trust's compliance with the requirements found that two of its 29 wards are not compliant - the Willow ward at Ipswich Hospital and part of the Suffolk Rehabilitation and Recovery Service.

It comes after the trust made changes to Rollesby ward at Hellesdon Hospital to ensure it could provide a female-only psychiatric intensive care unit.