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Changing Places facilities could soon be compulsory in new public buildings

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It could soon be made compulsory for new public buildings, such as shopping centres and stadiums, to install Changing Places facilities if the government goes ahead with proposals which could include a change to building regulations.

Ministers will launch a consultation next year on proposals that the essential facilities are included in all new large publicly-accessible buildings and significant redevelopments.

If the plans go ahead it would be a surge in demand for hundreds of new facilities to be supplied and installed by the mobility equipment industry.

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Currently, building regulations guidance only recommends Changing Places toilets are provided. 

Changing Places toilets, of which there are around 1,200 in the UK, are larger than standard disabled toilets and have extra equipment like adult-sized changing benches and hoists.  

Local Government Minister, Rishi Sunak, said he wants to see Changing Places facilities included as standard in new public buildings.

“The government will consult in the New Year on how best to do this, including changing building regulations if required, if it means more disabled people can enjoy the opportunities they deserve,” he said.

Minister for Care, Caroline Dinenage, said: “It is utterly shocking how few Changing Places toilets there are currently in NHS hospitals and other public spaces. People with disabilities and their carers rightly expect to find suitable facilities in a hospital of all places. 

“A quarter of a million disabled people need Changing Places and this investment will mean many more of them can access a toilet safely and comfortably.

“Whilst this is something most of us take for granted, access to spaces like these makes a big difference to the lives of disabled people and their carers.”

Today’s announcement follows a recent £2m investment by the Department for Transport to increase Changing Places facilities in motorway service stations. 

The Department of Health and Social Care has also pledged £2m to install over 100 Changing Places toilets in NHS hospitals throughout England.

Image: Closomat

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Joe Peskett

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