Changing Places: Why do Hospitals need them?

There are currently 84 hospitals in England that are registered as having a Changing Places toilet. With 854 hospitals in England, that means less than one in ten hospitals have one.

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

From 1 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.

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.

Why supermarkets need Changing Places toliets - signage

2)     Funding is available for hospitals

Hospitals have had funding for Changing Places since 2018.

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 last year, 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.

However, progress in allocating this funding has stalled as Coronavirus has taken precedence.

There are currently 34,783 patients in hospital with COVID-19, so it is only right that resources are focused on tackling the virus right now. That being said, hospitals shouldn’t forget to look at the long-term picture, recognising the value of planning ahead and ensuring they are putting in place an infrastructure that includes everyone.

APPLY FOR FUNDING NOW

That is why it is so important to know that there is still funding available!

We know that budgets are the deciding factor for most projects. So, getting financial support for your Changing Places installation is an opportunity not to be missed!

You can apply for capital for NHS acute hospital trusts in England by completing this form.

If you have any questions about completing an application, get in touch. Our Changing Places consultants will be happy to help.

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 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.

Interior of Changing Places Facility at the National Galleries of Scotland

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 National Galleries of Scotland install. We worked with Portakabin to build a Changing Places facility to overcome the gallery’s building restrictions (they are a listed building).

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.

So, if you’d like more information on the products included, please download our free Changing Places Brochure.

There’s lots of detail on the different areas that cover infection control:

GET A QUOTE FOR YOUR CHANGING PLACE

We can provide a render of how the full room would look, offer more advice on funding, provide full designs and quotes: