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The Department of Health and Social Care has announced that over £500,000 has been given to 10 NHS trusts in England today to build new Changing Places toilets for severely disabled people.
Minister for Care Caroline Dinenage has said that more than £500,000 has been made available to 10 trusts across England to start work on 16 new facilities, with a further £1.5 million available to bid for. There are currently just over 50 of these facilities on the NHS England estate.
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. Dinenage is calling for more trusts to bid for the funding and also for all new hospital facilities to include a Changing Places facility in their plans.
People with severe disabilities and their carers say Changing Places facilities can be life changing and allow them to go out in public or attend hospital appointments without fear or stress. Without them, they often face sitting in soiled clothing or dirty nappies until a suitable toilet is found or they return home or having to be changed on a dirty toilet floor.
Dinenage said: “People 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 tens of thousands of people and their carers who use NHS hospitals and I am delighted that trusts 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 Places facility in their future plans.”
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