Trust responds to national campaign to support visitors with disabilities

A vision of Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is to make its hospitals and estate as inclusive as possible for everyone and its latest facility is now set to greatly benefit visitors with disabilities.

A fully-equipped ‘Changing Places’ toilet has been added at Bradford Royal Infirmary in response to a national campaign. The new facility is situated on Level 1 next to the Physiotherapy Department, close to the hospital’s main entrance.

Head of Capital Projects and Development, Shane Embleton said: “Many disabled people are unable to use standard accessible toilets as they need more space for mobility and assistance.

“This includes people with profound and multiple learning disabilities, as well 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.

“These needs are met by ‘Changing Places’ toilets, which are larger than standard accessible toilets and designed for dependent use, for example with a carer. They have lots of space and specialised equipment, including a height-adjustable changing bench and a hoist, as well as a shower.

“They are clean and provide a safe environment; they allow people with complex and multiple disabilities to enjoy community life and days out with their family and friends in the same way as everyone else. Without these facilities, the alternative is to cut short an outing or change the person in a potentially unhygienic location and undignified fashion.”

Disability rights

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.

The Consortium members are 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 1195 Changing Places toilets available throughout the UK, and the latest facility at BRI has been registered at 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 BRI, a key is available Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm from the Physiotherapy Reception which is next to the toilet, and out of these times from the Main Reception desk.

The BRI ‘Changing Places’ facility is open 24 hours-a-day, 7 days-a-week.