The Leading News & Information Service For The Facilities, Workplace & Built Environment Community

Hospitals Falling Down on Toilet Provision

03 March 2016 | Updated 01 January 1970

A new report claims that UK hospitals and clinics are putting disabled people and their carers at risk by not providing appropriate toilets.

The toilet access report – Making a Case for Fully Accessible Toilets Within the NHS – states toilets in NHS buildings have been found that are unsafe and that fail to ensure the dignity, safety and wellbeing of patients, staff and carers.

Further, of the 206 acute and mental health NHS Trusts, only 42 have a basic changing places assisted accessible toilet for people who need a carer’s help.


The most common safety failings include:

  • Some toilets have been found to be unsafe, e.g. by not using non-slip flooring, no emergency cords/unreachable cords or not having the right type and placement of support rails.

  • Hospitals are failing to ensure dignity, safety and well being of patients, staff and carers by offering unsuitable alternatives to standard toilets.

  • There are 155 acute NHS trusts plus 56 mental health trusts as of October 2015. Many having multiple buildings across several locations. Out of all these buildings, only 42 provide a basic changing places toilet with hoist, extra space and bench access.

  • NHS staff, for the safety of themselves and patients, cannot assist by lifting people from wheelchair to toilet or from a seated to standing position. Where changing places are not provided or other suitable equipment such as adjustable height toilets, patients must take a family member to do manual lifting/assisting. This has caused long term back pain for many carers and is painful and dangerous for those being lifted.

Other areas that were criticised in the report included poor signposting and general health and wellbeing, e.g. where a healthy adult empties their bladder every 2-3 hours, yet many disabled patients are avoiding food and liquids for several hours because they know they cannot use toilets at hospitals and clinics.

One specialist provider of hospital toilets has expressed concern at the report’s findings and has published its own findings. “Research shows some 30% of NHS users in the UK are disabled, and hospitals are the second most inaccessible buildings for them,” explained Kelvin Grimes, Project Manager, Changing Places, Clos-o-Mat. “Legally, any service provider has to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to the built environment that would put someone at a substantial disadvantage, and those adjustments should be made in anticipation of a need being demonstrated. Those adjustments include suitable toilet provision. Provision of toilets is a basic human right under the European Convention of Human Rights, yet is, according to the toilet access report, the most overlooked human right.”

Picture: The hospital report on disabled toilets has found many areas of basic design, sanitary conditions and safety are not being followed but our picture shows a Clos-o-Mat toilet which does conform to strict guidance

Article written by Mike Gannon | Published 03 March 2016


Related Articles

Stadiums of Unenlightenment

There has been a call for the richest football clubs in the English Premier league to improve accessibility following a Private Member’s Bill introduced by Lord...

 Read Full Article
Disability Pay Gap Widens

Disabled workers earn £2,730 a year less on average than non-disabled workers says a new TUC report meaning the disability pay gap has increased to its highest...

 Read Full Article
Accessible Building Standard Revised

BSI, the business standards company, has revised BS 8300:2018 Design of an Accessible and Inclusive Built Environment. The revised standard aims to give clients,...

 Read Full Article
Sign of the Times - Picture Perfect or Picture Flawed?

A Jersey tribunal has found in favour of Ms Erin Bisson who wanted Condor Ferries to remove the words 'Men' or 'Ladies' from its toilet doors and other...

 Read Full Article
Court to Sit on Toilet Ruling

The Court of Appeal (rather than the Privy Council) is now expected to sit in an argument about the provision of toilets in predominantly take-away outlets. Hull City...

 Read Full Article
Duncan's Disabled - Peers Condemn Government

Following the convulsion of the departure of Iain Duncan Smith at the DWP, a House of Lords Select Committee report has rubbed more salt into the wounds The House of...

 Read Full Article
Call for Big Firms to Declare Disabled Worker Numbers

A parliamentary debate last week has highlighted government commitments to the disabled obtaining work and the experiences of the disabled. The parliamentary debate...

 Read Full Article
Hurry! Hurry! Hurry! Awards Deadline TODAY

Employers and recruiters have just hours to share their stories on their involvement with disabled talent by entering the Recruitment Industry Disability (RIDI)...

 Read Full Article
Disability Barriers to Finding Work

Up to 85% of disabled people find that their condition has an impact when job-hunting, according to new research. The findings come from the Recruitment Industry...

 Read Full Article
The Low Down on Disability - 2,500 Post Offices Fitted with Accessible Counters

The case involving Kiruna Stamell, the Australian born actress with dwarfism, who took the Post Office to a tribunal because she was having difficulties using the...

 Read Full Article