Last chance to comment – public review of government proposals for Changing Places toilets for the severely disabled closes on 21 July.
New, or majorly refurbished, large buildings used by the public must have Changing Places toilets for severely disabled people, under government proposals announced today (12 May 2019).
The government has launched a 10-week consultation which proposes the required size and shape of Changing Places toilets, as well as the range of equipment that must be included.
Changing Places toilets are larger accessible toilets for severely disabled people, with equipment such as hoists, curtains, adult-sized changing benches and enough space for carers.
In the absence of Changing Places facilities, disabled people and/or carers face:
- limiting what they drink to avoid needing the toilet when they are out – risking dehydration and urinary tract infections
- sitting in soiled clothing or dirty nappies until a suitable toilet is found or they return home
- having to change a loved one on a dirty toilet floor
- manually lifting someone out of their wheelchair – risking safety
- reducing their time out of the house – restricting their social lives
Practitioners delivering new build schemes or refurbishing old ones that match the new criteria need to be aware. Wayfinding provision will need to respond, both physically and graphically, and this is an opportunity for the SDS community to provide feedback on this key new legislation.
- It proposes thresholds at which the facilities will be made mandatory in new or largely refurbished buildings of different types, such as overall floor space or attendance capacity
- The Department for Transport, in partnership with Muscular Dystrophy UK (MDUK), launched a £2 million fund for Changing Places to be installed in existing motorway service stations, which is now open for applications
- The Department of Health and Social Care will also soon launch a £2 million fund for NHS Trusts to install new Changing Places in over 100 hospitals across England
The proposals are expected to add facilities to more than 150 new buildings a year, including shopping centres, supermarkets, cinemas, stadiums and arts venues.
The full document and response form. Please submit your comments by 21 July 2019.
On 12 May 2019, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) launched a consultation on its proposal to increase provision of Changing Places toilets in specific new, large buildings commonly used by the public, as well as those undergoing building works.
The proposed approach is to introduce a mandatory requirement for Changing Places toilets in Building Regulations Part M (Access to and Use of Buildings).
Changing Places toilets give severely disabled people and their families the opportunity to visit public places which they otherwise would not be able to and can therefore make a huge difference to their quality of life. It is estimated that at least 250,000 people in the UK need Changing Places toilets in order to have their toileting needs met in a safe, dignified and humane way. Currently there are 1,300 Changing Places toilets across the UK but provision is still haphazard and there is a push for this to be expanded.