PEOPLE with disabilities in Bradford can now benefit from a state-of-the art wet-room facility and toilet at St Luke’s Hospital.
Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has part-funded the £36,000 provision to build the specially adapted ‘Changing Places’ space along with the Department of Health.
The Trust’s Chief Executive, Mel Pickup, cut the ribbon to launch the new facility alongside nine-year-old outpatient Muhammad Subhaan.
The new unit, which is positioned on the ground floor of the hospital’s Horton Wing close to the ambulance entrance, also contains additional equipment for people who are unable to use the toilet and shower independently, including adult-sized changing benches and hoists, and builds on the positive feedback the Trust has received about the ‘Changing Places’ facility which opened at Bradford Royal Infirmary in 2018.
Muhammad has microcephaly and a learning disability. His mum, Adeela Tariq, from Wibsey, said the new facilities at St Luke’s Hospital would be very beneficial for Muhammad and her family.
“The new ‘Changing Places’ facility is going to be really beneficial as sometimes, when we come to the hospital for appointments we are there for a long time, so the extra space will make things a lot easier. It’s a really good idea to have a room like this as it will make our visits less stressful.”
Samantha Hunter, Project Lead for Estates and Facilities, said: “These facilities are invaluable for many disabled people, who are unable to use standard accessible toilets as they need more space for mobility and assistance.
“The ‘Changing Places’ room is spacious, accessible and contains a large changing bench with overhead shower so adults and older children can receive a full wash-down if they need it.
“It’s our vision to make our hospitals and estate as inclusive as possible for everyone and this latest facility will greatly benefit visitors and staff alike.”
The new facility is a welcoming space for people with profound and multiple learning disabilities, as well as people with other physical disabilities such as spinal injuries, muscular dystrophy and multiple sclerosis who often need extra equipment and space to allow them to use the toilets safely and comfortably.
Over a quarter of a million people need ‘Changing Places’ toilets to enable them to get out and about and enjoy the day-to-day activities many of us take for granted. As a result the ‘Changing Places’ Consortium was established in 2005, working to support the rights of people with disabilities.
Consortium members include Pamis (Promoting a More Inclusive society), Muscular Dystrophy UK, CAE (Centre for Accessible Environments) and the Scottish Government.
It launched its ‘Changing Places’ campaign in 2006 on behalf of people with profound and multiple learning disabilities, Motor Neurone Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Cerebral Palsy, as well as older people with the aim of installing ‘Changing Places’ in all big public spaces so people can access their community.
There are now around 1,300 Changing Places toilets available throughout the UK, and the latest facility at St Luke’s Hospital is registered at www.changing-places.org as a reference point for patients, carers and visitors.
To access it, users will need a RADAR key. RADAR Keys are made available to people with disabilities from the local council. However because not all disabilities are visible, if a person does not have a RADAR key and is in need of the new ‘Changing Places’ toilet at St Luke’s Hospital, a key will be available Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm from the main reception desk.
Kez Hayat, the Trust’s Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, said: “Providing this facility at St Luke’s Hospital is absolutely essential for our visitors, patients and staff.
“It highlights our commitment in ensuring key facilities across the Trust are accessible and inclusive for all of our wider hospital community.
“Every Changing Places toilet contains the right equipment, in enough space, in a clean and safe environment and I am delighted to see this new provision created at St Luke’s.”
The St Luke’s Hospital ‘Changing Places’ facility will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
New staff lounge
A new staff lounge, providing space for Trust colleagues to have a rest during their breaks, is also set to be officially opened.
The lounge is located in the basement of the Horton Wing and features a TV, comfortable seating and a breakfast bar as well as a separate space for lockers and two changing cubicles.
Pat Campbell, Trust HR Director, said: “It’s important that our staff take time away from their work stations, wards and clinics while on their breaks so they can relax and re-charge.
“The lounge is also an opportunity to thank colleagues for everything they continue to do, to care for and protect our patients. I’m immensely proud of their dedication, skill and compassion over this past, difficult year. I hope the lounge will be well used.”