On 24th December 2018 the Government announced its intention to consult on how we can increase provision of Changing Places toilet facilities in specific new, large buildings commonly used by the public, including a potential change to the Building Regulations. In short, the Government’s manifesto sets out that where you live, shop, go out, travel or park your car should not be determined by your disability.
More than 250,000 severely disabled people will have greater access to public places after the government moved to make Changing Places toilets compulsory in new buildings. For too long, the lack of Changing Places toilets has meant that severely disabled people have faced severe difficulties in attending public places.
Changing Places are larger accessible changing rooms for severely disabled people, with special equipment such as hoists, adult-sized changing benches, washing facilities and space for carers, meaning disabled people and their carers have the space and equipment they need. This can give them the confidence to leave their homes and visit a public venue, knowing that the facilities they require will be available. As the carer and cared-for each need their own privacy inside the room, a privacy screen or curtain is essential, as stated in BS-8300:2009. The Nojerm CleanScreen, designed for Infection Prevention, and with totally cleanable surfaces, offers safe and hygienic privacy inside the room. With multi-occupancy, it is important that surfaces can be clinically cleaned, and that each user is kept safe from infection, especially the most vulnerable. CleanScreen reaches to within 10cm of the floor and extends to just under two metres in height, providing the maximum physical barrier against infection on today’s market.
Minister for Care, Helen Whately said:
‘Dignity and independence is something many of us take for granted but can be a daily challenge of people with severe disabilities, especially when there is a lack of access to adequate toilet and changing facilities. All public spaces should cater for people with disabilities so they don’t have to suffer discomfort, embarrassment, or even injury without access to a Changing Place.’
In the recent Budget, Chancellor Rishi Sunak set aside £30M to encourage a greater uptake in the Changing Places initiative.