Minister for Care Caroline Dinenage has set aside £2m to be spent on Changing Places in NHS hospitals across England and is urging trusts to apply for the funding.
More than 100 new Changing Places facilities could be built, offering better toileting and changing facilities to thousands of people living with complex disabilities.
There are currently only around 30 to 40 of these facilities on the NHS England estate but NHS trusts interested in increasing accessibility can now bid for a share of the funding.
Changing Places are larger than standard disabled toilets and have extra equipment including adult-sized changing benches and ceiling hoists. They represent an increasing market in the UK.
Ms Dinenage said is urging NHS trusts across the country to apply for this funding. Severely disabled people and their carers must be reassured that they can access these essential facilities when attending appointments in a hospital, of all places.
“I have met campaigners who with personal experience who highlighted just how important Changing Places are for maintaining safety and dignity.
“A quarter of a million disabled people could benefit from this investment so it is vital that NHS Trusts take advance of this funding now to increase accessibility.”
Clare Lucas, head of policy and campaigns for Muscular Dystrophy UK, which co-chairs the Changing Places Consortium, said: “We welcome the government’s commitment to invest in fully accessible toilets in hospitals. Having access to a well-equipped toilet is a matter of respect and dignity for people who are severely disabled.
“Changing Places toilets give people more confidence and independence because they no longer have to worry about what will happen if they are caught short. We encourage all NHS Trusts to help break down barriers faced by disabled people and apply for the funding.”
The announcement forms part of cross government work to improve accessibility and make sure that the UK’s transport network is fully inclusive.
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government is currently consulting on making Changing Places mandatory in new, or majorly refurbished, large buildings used by the public.
The Department for Transport last month launched a £2 million fund for Changing Places to be installed in existing motorway service stations, which is now open for applications.