Support disabled outpatients and visitors to use the loo with dignity in our hospitals
This petition had 433 supporters
I'm writing to tell you about my daughter Emily-May who is 5 years old, and how you can help make her future brighter as well as thousands of children, teenagers and adults like her. She's one of the happiest girls I know even though she is unable to walk or talk. I wouldn't change my daughter for the world but I do need to change the world for my daughter. This is where you come in. Disabled toilets in the main are completely inaccessible for my daughter, she is unable to maintain a sitting balance and is incontinent which means that she requires a changing bench and hoist in order to be toileted. She is just one of approximately 250,000 people in the UK for whom this is an issue.
The majority of hospitals do not cater for people like my daughter when they are visiting out-patients departments, or visiting friends and relatives. Usually only a standard disabled toilet is provided, this means that often the only option for her, and others like her, is to be changed in an inappropriate place without appropriate equipment, thus leaving her and myself open to acute injury. While this is definitely a health and safety issue, it would be against all advice given regarding moving and handling techniques if she was an inpatient in hospital.
The Equality Act of 2010 states that reasonable adjustments have to be made for disabled toilets to be accessible. I would say that it is never reasonable for a disabled child, teenager or adult to have to be laid on a public toilet floor to be changed which is often the only option available to them and their carers, other than leaving them sitting in their own body waste for prolonged periods of time. It certainly flies in the face of infection control protocol, can contribute to pressure ulcer formation, and delay healing when pressure ulcers are already present. It means that the most vulnerable members of society, who are likely to be frequent visitors to hospital due to their pre-existing conditions and who are often also immuno-suppressed are being treated as second class citizens with a lack of dignity and respect because they are unable to fulfil a basic need, that the rest of us take for granted, in a safe, humane and timely manner.
I've recently been campaigning for Changing Places toilets (with changing bench and hoist) to be made compulsory in all hospitals for outpatients and visitors. I emailed the Department of Health who advised me to email NHS England and to contact individual hospital trusts. NHS England tell me that reasonable adjustments are already made for disabled people to access disabled toilet facilities in all healthcare settings. Not if you can't sit on a loo they don't, or certainly not around where I live...
Please if you have had problems accessing a disabled loo because of your disability, make a comment on the problems you faced as well as signing this petition. I need your voices to respond to the powers that be.
Today: Lorna is counting on you
Lorna Fillingham needs your help with “Rt Hon David Cameron MP: Support disabled outpatients and visitors to use the loo with dignity in our hospitals”. Join Lorna and 432 supporters today.