Toilet (in)accessibility in the NHS
“The NHS, by its very nature, will serve a higher percentage of people who need very specific facilities to use the toilet. Therefore, adapted toilets need to be of a higher quality to maximize independent use and maintain a high standard of dignity, safety and hygiene compared to other ‘away from home’ facilities…
“It is not appropriate and probably unlawful to substitute a dedicated room for any of the following-
- offering no support or equipment
- offer of a commode, spare bed/cubicle
- suggesting patients pre-arrange hoist and nursing support”
Those strong words come from a new 43 page report into toilets- or their lack of- within NHS hospitals and clinics (www.toiletaccess.wordpress.com), Making a Case for Fully Accessible Toilets Within the NHS)
The report maintains hospitals are failing to ensure dignity, safety and wellbeing of patients and their carers by not providing suitable toilet facilities: of 206 acute and mental health trusts, less than 25% have a basic assisted accessible- or Changing Places- toilet. Yet a hospital is the one place where a larger proportion of its users need specialist facilities: 30% of NHS users are disabled….
Changing Places campaigners are lobbying hard to improve the situation. Aware that NHS budgets are under such pressure, even if a Trust would agree to allocate an appropriate space, maybe the Friends of the Hospital could champion the cause and raise/provide the funds to install and maintain it? Just a thought….!