“This is how it has always been done” often just means that nobody has questioned whether it is working, let alone asked if it could be better.
When people question the standard and are told “it meets the minimum requirement” does it really mean that things are okay?
Or might the standard be too low?
Document M (the legal requirement for provision of toilets) states that “wheelchair users should be able to approach, transfer to and use the sanitary facilities in a building”.
Isn’t there an assumption in that statement that wheelchair users can all independently transfer to the toilet without assistance from equipment or carers?
What about those who cannot self transfer but who still need to “go”?
What about those who cannot use a toilet at all so need a safe space for a carer to change pads?
Where are these people considered in the legislation?
They are not.
They are ignored.
Those needing a hoist and changing bench in the same room as a toilet have no automatic protection when it comes to their right to access basic facilities. Because that is what these things are really – BASIC FACILITIES!
Take a look. Really not that “special” is it?
Yet, for places like my local theatre, planning to spend £18.3 million on a total refurbishment, there was merely a “recommendation” to provide a toilet with a hoist and bench. Yet a legal requirement to provide facilities for people who walk unaided and those who can self transfer.
It is hardly surprising that they didn’t understand the need and were reluctant to agree to include these facilities. They are merely mentioned, no discussion of the value or the need. So unless the planners and architects know what they are, they are not going to be included.
They have since agreed to include a toilet with a hoist and changing table but I should not have had to discuss legal action for it to happen. It should have been a requirement not a recommendation.
Isn’t it time we did the best possible for people?
After all, none of us is immune to disability or to aging.
My great grandfather spent his last years living in a nursing home. He needed hoisting for transfer to the toilet so he wasn’t able to go out much.
He used to describe himself as “waiting to die”.
How many elderly people are not living the lives they deserve because of a lack of necessary facilities?
Never forget that you are in the queue to join them.
As it stands, the current Building Standards “recommend” that toilets with a hoist and bench (Changing Places toilets) should be installed in larger buildings and complexes.
These places include:
a) major transport termini or interchanges, e.g. large railway stations and airports
b) motorway services
c) sport and leisure facilities, including large hotels
d) cultural centres, such as museums, concert halls and art galleries
e) stadia and large auditoria
f) shopping centres and shopmobility centres
g) key buildings within town centres, e.g. town halls, civic centres and main public libraries
h) educational establishments
i) health facilities, such as hospitals, health centres and community practices.
Is that REALLY asking too much for them to be provided at these locations?
Please share this with your Member of Parliament. Ask them to support a change in the guidance so that these facilities become a requirement so they are no longer ignored.
So that people with care and support needs are no longer ignored.