Vital regulations changed to introduce Changing Places toilets, says Armstrong

Alliance MLA Kellie Armstrong has said it is vital building regulations are changed to ensure Changing Places toilets are included in the design of all public buildings.

Mrs Armstrong, Chair of the Assembly’s All-Party on Disability, was speaking after questioning Finance Minister Conor Murphy on his Department’s policy on retrofitting all public and Government buildings with such toilets within the next five years.

In his response, the Minister said the Department was ‘aware of and sympathetic to the dignity issues and impacts’ from the limited provision of Changing Places toilets, and would support and encourage ‘appropriate legislative changes’.

“Due to a lack of space and adult-sized changing tables, many older children and adults have to lie on the floor of a public toilet to be changed by the family or career. It is dangerous, unhygienic and undignified,” said Ms Armstrong.

“Changing Places toilets are a modern and more inclusive version of the current disability toilet layout. The facility allows carers to help from both sides of the toilet and includes an appropriate sized adult changing table with a hoist so no one has to be changed on the floor.

“I welcome the Minister confirming the Department plans to install the toilets on the Stormont Estate, which it has responsibility for, and look forward to it engaging with other Departments and agencies to update requirements.

“It is important building regulations are changed to ensure Changing Places toilets are included right from the design of public buildings. By making toilets and buildings fully accessible, we make it easier for everyone to have equal access to services.”