Disabled people in Lancashire to benefit from £50k boost for Changing Places toilets
Patients with disabilities in Lancashire are set to benefit from improved, state-of-the-art toilet facilities in their local hospitals, the Government has announced.
Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust has received £50,000 in new funding to build a Changing Places facility, one of several areas across the country to do so.
Changing Places are toilets with additional equipment for people who are not able to use the toilet independently, including adult-sized changing benches and hoists. Disabled patients visiting Lancashire Teaching Hospitals will now have access to these new, state of the art facilities.
Over £500,000 has been made available to 10 Trusts across England today to start work on 16 new facilities, with a further £1.5 million made available to bid for.
There are currently only around 40 of these facilities on the NHS England estate. With this tranche of funding, it is expected that the total number of Changing Places in hospitals will eventually increase to over 100.
Minister for Care Caroline Dinenage said: “People in Lancashire with severe disabilities deserve to live with dignity and independence, but lack of access to adequate toilet facilities can be a huge challenge.
"Hospitals, like all public spaces, have a duty to cater for people with disabilities – who risk discomfort, embarrassment and even injury without access to a Changing Place.
“This funding will make a real difference to thousands of people and their carers who use the Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and I am delighted they can begin building work as soon as possible, with further funding still available.
“While today will help us to double the number of Changing Places in NHS Trusts, we still have far to go – I expect every hospital development to include a Changing Place facility in their future plans.”
People with severe disabilities, such as those living with muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy and multiple sclerosis, and their carers, say Changing Places in public can be life-changing and allow them to go out in public or attend hospital appointments without fear or stress.
Catherine Woodhead, chief executive of Muscular Dystrophy UK and co-chairman of the Changing Places Consortium, said: “When a hospital doesn’t have a Changing Places toilet, disabled people may struggle to attend important medical appointments or visit family and friends. This is unacceptable, and not only puts their health at risk but can leave them isolated.
“We’re pleased that 11 hospital trusts have successfully applied for funding to install Changing Places toilets, but more need to follow their example. We strongly encourage all those who haven’t already done so to commit to being more inclusive and apply for a share of the DHSC’s funding.”