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Changing Places disabled facility opens at Guy’s Hospital

Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust is continuing its commitment to accessibility for patients by installing a Changing Places toilet.

Recently opened at Guy’s Hospital, the Changing Places toilet will allow those whose needs are not met by standard accessible toilets to use the bathroom in comfort and with dignity.

Changing Places toilets are larger accessible toilets for severely disabled people, with equipment such as hoists, curtains, adult-sized changing benches and enough space for carers.

Manal Sadik, associate director for equality, diversity and inclusion at Guy’s and St Thomas’, said: “Having a Changing Places toilet in Guy’s Hospital is a fantastic way to demonstrate our commitment to equality and inclusion for all. 

“The toilet will ensure each and every patient and carer that visits our hospital is able to move around and use our facilities with dignity and ease. We are hugely proud to have this as it will make a big difference to those who rely on the facility.”

There are more than a quarter of a million people across the UK who could benefit from a Changing Places toilet facility, including people with profound and multiple learning disabilities, as well as people with other physical disabilities such as spinal injuries, muscular dystrophy and multiple sclerosis.

The Changing Places toilet opening was attended by Sarah Quinn and her son Dylan Way, 20, who was born with a rare genetic condition that means he has significant learning and physical disabilities. Sarah said: “The new Changing Places facility will give my son and I peace of mind, knowing that he can be changed in a clean and dignified manner when we are attending the hospital for appointments and in the local area. It’s good to see the NHS making positive steps for the inclusion of disabled and special needs people.”

The Changing Places Consortium is a group of organisations working to support the rights of people with profound and multiple learning disabilities or other physical disabilities. Established in 2005, the Consortium campaigns for Changing Places toilets to be installed in all big public spaces so people can access their community. 

Lauren West, a campaign’s manager at Muscular Dystrophy UK, which co-chairs the Changing Places Consortium, said: “We’re delighted that Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust has recognised the need for Changing Places toilets by registering a facility. It is crucial that hospitals have fully accessible toilets; without them, disabled people may struggle to attend important appointments or visit family and friends. 

“We would encourage other venues to follow the example of Guy’s and St Thomas’, and won’t stop campaigning until there are enough Changing Places toilets nationwide.”

Located on the ground floor of Guy’s Hospital, the new Changing Places toilet is open to patients and visitors 24 hours a day.

For further information on Changing Places, please visit: www.changing-places.org

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