Disabled people in Lincolnshire will benefit from improved toilet facilities with extra equipment after almost £100,000 of funding was awarded to United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust (ULHT).
ULHT was awarded £97,000 to build three Changing Place facilities across three sites – Lincoln County Hospital, Pilgrim Hospital in Boston and Grantham and District Hospital.
Changing Places are toilets with additional equipment, such as adult-sized changing benches and hoists. The cost to install a Changing Places facility in a hospital is usually between £27,000 and £35,000.
People with severe disabilities, such as muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy and multiple sclerosis, and their carers have said Changing Places in public can be life-changing and allow them to go out or attend hospital appointments without fear or stress.
Jennie Negus, Deputy Chief Nurse at ULHT, said: “We are absolutely delighted and grateful to have received this funding to develop Changing Places facilities on each of our hospital sites, something we have long wished to do.
“We recognise just how difficult it is for people with significant disabilities such as profound and multiple learning disabilities, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis or cerebral palsy to use standard accessible toilets and we know developing these will make a huge difference to them when they visit our sites. Our patients and carers will be equally delighted to hear this news.”
Over £500,000 has been made available to 10 trusts across England, including ULHT, to start work on 16 new facilities. A further £1.5 million will be made available to bid for.
There are currently only around 40 of these facilities on the NHS England estate. With this latest funding, the total number of Changing Places in hospitals is expected to eventually increase to over 100.
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government consulted last year on proposals that would add Changing Places toilets to more than 150 new buildings a year, including shopping centres, supermarkets, cinemas, stadiums and arts venues.
The proposals would add the facilities to specific new, large buildings commonly used by the public, as well as those undergoing building works. The consultation closed in July and the department intends to respond in Spring this year.