Pitiful Government Response.

I recently shared yet another petition to get Changing Places toilets to be more than a mere recommendation in the building standards, and it led me to look back at the most recent government response to this issue.

Get ready!

“The Government recognises that “Changing Places” toilets play an important role to support the day to day life for many disabled people, their family and carers. The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has worked alongside local and national campaigners in partnership with business and local councils, to promote provision of these facilities, which have increased in number from 140 in 2007 to 918 now, but we recognise we need to do more.

Current guidance in Part M (Access to and use of buildings) of the Building Regulations refers directly to “Changing Places” and the British Standard BS8300 (Design of buildings and their approaches to meet the needs of disabled people). Both advise that these facilities should be considered in large buildings and complexes, but it is not stated as a requirement. The British Standard recommends how to create an enlarged “Changing Places” cubicle in a separate-sex toilet washroom with additional functionality.

The Government has commissioned research to evaluate how well the current guidance in Approved Document M is working in meeting the needs of disabled people, including consideration of toilet provision. Once we have the results of this research we will decide if changes are needed to the current requirements of the Building Regulations.

Department for Communities and Local Government”


Is it not enough to know that people are avoiding going out?

Is it not enough to know that people are self-medicating?

Is it not enough to know that there are towns without facilities?

Is it not enough to know that nobody should be petitioning for dignity?

Is it not enough to see even one photo of a person lying on a toilet floor?

What research is needed to decide if changes are required???

I am beyond horrified at this government response to a petition which reasonably requests that ALL disabled people be included in law.

Because, right now, people who cannot self transfer are entirely excluded from any legal protection to access toilet facilities. People who cannot use a toilet so need to have pads changed are excluded.

Document M is NOT WORKING AT ALL for the people it ignores! 

And it ignores hundreds of thousands of people, including this one, my son.

This wheelchair user wants legal protection too.
Not all wheelchair users can walk – how do they use the toilet?

Please contact your MP to ask them exactly how much research needs to be done to identify whether or not it is okay to have people being laid on toilet floors, self medicating, withholding fluids or becoming housebound just because the current law ignores them.

Changing Places toilets don’t just “play an important role to support the day to day life for many disabled people” they actually make every day life possible!

Would you visit an attraction for a day if there were no toilet facilities? Would you go out for a meal if there were no toilet facilities in the entire town? How far from home would you want to travel if you depended on Changing Places toilets for your dignity and safety?

If you don’t know what to say to your MP, just send them this post and ask them to explain how changes to the building standards can be anything other than long overdue.

Be better than our government. Do something!

Room in the Loo?
When this is all that needs to be added to a toilet large enough to turn a wheelchair in, surely there is no excuse not to?



14 thoughts on “Pitiful Government Response.

  1. I am so with you on the points you raised. I have emailed Ben Bradshaw MP and raised the issues.
    I’ll let you know when I know more, here’s what I put in my email
    Please read the information on the following link
    As the writer suggest I’m asking exactly how much research needs to be done to identify whether or not it is okay to have people being laid on toilet floors, self medicating, withholding fluids or becoming housebound just because the current law ignores them.  I am also asking for an explanation of why changes to the  building standards can be anything other than long overdue. 
    I hope other people will do likewise. Unless we tell out MPs how we feel about issues how are they to know, and bring about positive change.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The whole subject of toilets is swept under the carpet because it is not a legal requirement – never mind the health and humanity side. I’m trying to get access to toilet facilities for lorry drivers in the UK – they’re also forced to reduce their fluids and use buckets as a toilet or risk being fined if they use the verge. I have a recent mobility problem and am horrified to have it confirmed that many accessible toilets don’t comply with British Standards – even in hospital! I promote Changing Places facilities in my monthly Public Toilet newsletter and am pleased in the increase but as you say we need to be an INCLUSIVE society whilst currently we are certainly excluding not just people with disabilities but their families as well. Keep up the good work! Your efforts are amazing and are bearing fruit.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you. I follow your campaign and am always pleased to see your support for Changing Places toilets.

      As for lorry drivers, surely none of us want drivers of massive vehicles holding on and being uncomfortable whilst driving? I want to know that they are able to give their full concentration to the road, not their bladders! Dignity and safety for all should not be a battle.x

      Liked by 1 person

    1. There is already plenty of research. Several hundred thousand people telling them they are excluded from life without Changing Places toilets is surely all the research that is needed?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s rather a good idea. If enough people did it……. Ordinary Hopes can’t you suggest something like this to the Changing Places campaign group. If there’s 1/4 million people that need this they must have a lot of members. If those member each wrote an email/letter to their MP it would show the government that we mean business on this issue. Changing places could even suggest what to put in the email/letter and email all their members about it. People could email their friends and ask them to write to their MP too who could then email their friends. That would raise awareness of the issue to many more people. The more people that know there is this problem the better. What do you think ?

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Locally, this is what we have done. I think a nationwide scale is needed though. Not enough people even know what a Changing Places toilet is and that needs to change.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Until I stumble across your blog I didn’t understand the problem much myself. You’d think I’d know better being a full time wheelchair user! I suppose until quite recently people who needed a Changing Places facility were just out of site out of mind like so many people with disabilities. Before the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 friends of mine worked so hard to make it happen. Groups of them would go to busy streets in London, get out of their wheelchairs and lie in the road, stopping all traffic. The police came and arrested them…. and then realized they had nowhere at the police station to put them. They were taken to court but the couldn’t attend because there was no wheelchair access. That still makes me smile. They continued to do this at many cities across the UK, because no one was doing anything.
            And so we got the Discrimination Act which certainly was a move in the right direction. Now we have the Equality Act 2010. Although good in many ways it’s got quite a lot of flaws, you case being just one of them. I think all MPs/ councillors/ and a whole lot more should spend a day or more in a wheelchair. a day when they can only use a toilet like a Changing Place one. Maybe they’d begin to understand the problem then.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Absolutely! Maybe a fortnight for them all, at the same time, so that they really understand! Imagine the queue for a bus to get across London!

              It is very true though, too many people were out of sight and out of mind till relatively recently. And attitudes from some in authority are terrible. Just recently I heard a suggestion of “just put them in pads”, as those the individual needs don’t matter at all and as though those pads never need changing!

              Liked by 1 person

    1. If you write/email her, she should at least raise the issue with the relevant departments. Letters and emails carry a lot more clout than tweeting, although tweeting helps.If you get no joy from her I would report her to Party headquarters. You can also go to the other parties in you constituency, they may not be in power but that doesn’t mean to say they can do nothing. Has anyone raised the issue with Jeremy Corbyn, the Green Part etc. ?

      Liked by 1 person

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