A new, fully accessible Changing Places toilet has been installed at Harefield Hospital in the London Borough of Hillingdon for patients, visitors, and staff.

The Changing Places toilet is the first of its kind to be installed at the hospital.

Assistive technology supplier Astor Bannerman provided equipment for the room, including a height-adjustable washbasin and the Astor Invincible changing table, which is specially designed for public, high-use Changing Places toilets.

The accessible facility is located next to Harefield Hospital’s restaurant, The Hungry Hare, opposite the main hospital entrance. It is open from 8am-6pm every day, allowing access for anyone visiting, staying at, or working in the hospital.

Ras Kahai, Cardiorespiratory Dietitian, and Katharine Scott, Lead for Older People and Physical Disabilities, spearheaded the initiative, as part of their work leading the hospitals’ disability and wellness network (DAWN).

Ras said: “Having a Changing Places toilet on site is a significant step towards ensuring we meet the needs of people with complex care needs. As a wheelchair user, having access to sufficient space and appropriate facilities is tantamount to knowing that I, and many others, have a clean, suitable and safe space which supports our mobility rather than reduces it.”

According to the Changing Places website, over a quarter of a million people in the UK need Changing Places toilets to enable them to get out and about and enjoy day-to-day activities.

To use a toilet in safety and comfort, some people need to be able to access a Changing Places facility, which has more space and the right equipment, including a height-adjustable changing bench, accessible toilet, and a celling hoist.

Katharine commented: “Imagine having to base your plans around whether or not there will be a suitable toilet for you to use.

“For people needing purpose-built facilities, including many who come onto our sites, this is the decision they face every day, so we are proud they can come to our hospitals knowing they’ll be able go to the toilet with dignity and freedom.”

Recently, Greater London Authority (GLA) joined a raft of other buildings and venues in levelling up accessibility by installing a brand-new Changing Places toilet.

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