Why Hospitals need Changing Places

Posted on 18 April 2024 in Changing Places

Did you know that only 122 hospitals in the UK have a registered Changing Places toilet?

With 930 NHS hospitals and over 200 private hospitals across the UK, more needs to be done to ensure there are inclusive facilities in hospitals.

Over 250,000 people in the UK have disabilities meaning they require help with changing and using the toilet. When a hospital doesn’t have a Changing Places toilet, disabled people may struggle to attend important medical appointments or visit their family and friends. This is unacceptable, and not only puts their health at risk, but can leave them isolated.

In this article, we will cover 3 reasons why it is essential that we increase the number of hospitals with registered Changing Places in the coming years.

 

1)     It is now a legal requirement

 

Since January 2021, any new hospital or primary care centres are now legally required to install Changing Place facilities. Following a lengthy consultation, this is the government’s response to a proposal to increase the provision of Changing Places toilets.

 

Why hospitals need changing places

Any new hospital or primary care centres are now legally required to install Changing Place facilities.

 

This new legislation is particularly important in reference to the government’s plan to build 40 new hospitals by 2030, with all needing to comply with the new regulations in their planning applications. These are set out in Document M and BS 8300-2:2018 building regulations.

It is hoped that the new legislation will help address the needs of disabled people who have been previously overlooked.

 

2)     Funding for hospitals

 

Hospitals have had funding for Changing Places since 2018, helping to boost the number of facilities available to patients, their families and staff.

 

Changing Places at East Cramlington Hospital

Changing Places toilet at East Cramlington Hospital

 

DHSC FUNDING

 

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) allocated a £2 million fund specifically for Changing Places installations. This was with the objective of helping over 100 NHS hospitals to build Changing Places facilities.

In January 2020, an initial £500,000 was shared across ten hospital Trusts in England. This translated into 16 new Changing Places toilets being scheduled for installation.

 

Which Hospitals Received Funding?

 

 

During the first round of successful bids in 2020, some Trusts were successful in applying for more than one Changing Places toilet to be installed. Here is a list of the hospitals that secured the first batch of funding:

 

Trust Funding
Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust £105,000
University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust £51,000
Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Trust £34,000
Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust £35,000
Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust £40,000
Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust £35,000
United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust £97,000
West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust

Lancashire Teaching Hospitals

Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

£60,000

£50,000

£17,000

Data from DHSC

THE CHANGING PLACES FUND

 

In addition to those funds, there was also a £30 million Changing Places fund that was announced in the March 2020 budget. This deal was put together to increase the provision of Changing Places toilets in existing public buildings.

 

New Changing Places open at Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway

Changing Places toilet opened at Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway.

 

One of those public areas that has benefitted from the scheme is Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway station, which was opened in April 2024.

Click here to read our news article.

 

3) We have a responsibility to make hospitals more inclusive

 

We’ve heard many stories from carers, families and those with a disability, about the importance of having somewhere where they can change and refresh safely, but also in a dignified way.

 

“In the past we’ve had to change her on examination tables”

 

Lorna Fillingham’s nine-year-old daughter, Emily-May, has a development delay, and still wears nappies, so requires a Changing Places toilet.

Her local park does have Changing Places facilities, but her local hospital doesn’t.

 

Lorna Fillingham Changing Places

Changing Places campaigner, Lorna Fillingham.

 

Lorna commented:

“The last time we went, she was absolutely soaked through after the end of a very long appointment because there was absolutely nowhere to change her.”

This story is just one of thousands where families have a daily struggle finding suitable toilet facilities to use safely or in comfort.

Put yourself in their shoes and you will understand why Changing Places is so important. Hospitals are essential for the care that they provide, and that should extend to catering to the needs of the people that rely on them.

 

Are there any concerns?

 

NHS Trusts have occasionally raised a few concerns about how they can incorporate Changing Place facilities into their hospitals.

So, we are addressing some common questions.

The three concerns are cost, space and hygiene – especially in today’s current climate.

Cost — Funding is still available from the £2 million set out for NHS Trusts in 2018. This is also supported by the £30 million announced in the March 2020 budget, allowing a Changing Places facility within an existing public building.

Size — If space is an issue, modular Changing Places can be built outside of the building!

Take a look at our Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo install to see how Innova help them overcome the challenges of installing an accessible toilet in a castle.

 

Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo Changing Places

Modular Changing Places toilet at the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.

 

 

Hygiene — With the COVID-19 pandemic, hygiene is one of the highest priorities in hospitals. Luckily, our Changing Place installations come with an infection control package with materials designed for easy clean/bacterial resistance.

 

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