It could soon be made compulsory for new public buildings, such as shopping centres and stadiums, to install Changing Places facilities if the government goes ahead with proposals which could include a change to building regulations.
The government will consult early this year as to how to best to ensure that Changing Places are included as standard in public buildings.
Minister for Care, Caroline Dinenage, said: “It is utterly shocking how few Changing Places toilets there are currently in NHS hospitals and other public spaces.”
Interestingly the Department of Health and Social Care has also pledged £2m to install over 100 Changing Places toilets in NHS hospitals throughout England. This is a great step towards making a big difference to the lives of disabled people and their carers.
Standard accessible toilets (or “disabled toilets”) do not provide changing benches or hoists and most are too small to accommodate more than one person. Without Changing Places toilets, the person with disabilities is put at risk, and families or carers are forced to risk their own health and safety by changing their loved one on a toilet floor. This is dangerous, unhygienic and undignified.
A quarter of a million disabled people need a Changing Places to enable them to get out and enjoy day-to-day activities, investment in these facilities will mean many more of them can access a toilet safely and comfortably.
Whilst this is something most of us take for granted, access to the facilities that they require makes a huge difference for disabled people and their carers.
We should be seeing Changing Places toilets installed in the following types of venues:
• City centres
• Shopping centres
• Arts venues
• Transport hubs like train stations, airports and motorway service stations
• Leisure complexes
• Sporting stadiums
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