Public loos

The Greater London authority are focusing on public toilets, including disabled loos. The chair of the Health Committee realised their deficiencies after going round London with a friend who has MS.

I am in a electric wheelchair and cannot walk, though I can stand if there are grab rails in the right places. Personally, I find the standard design of disabled toilets unusable because after struggling to get on the loo, it is impossible to get up again. I need to pull myself forward and up to standing so I can pull my trousers up with one hand whilst holding onto something with the other. However, the nearest vertical grab rail is to close and the other too far away to reach.

The GLA wants as many people as possible to fill in a short questionnaire in order to gain information about public toilet provision, including provision for the disabled.

Incidentally, the much vaunted Changing Places rooms don’t look much better to me. The toilet has dropped rails on either side but nothing to hold onto should you be able to push yourself up to standing using just your arms.

Link to the questionnaire:

My quest to have the standard disabled toilet design altered began after I found myself stuck in the disabled loo of the Design Museum on my first foray into the world beyond easy access to my own bathroom. They took the problem seriously and had the whole building surveyed by an Access consultant. Since then I have rattled as many cages as I can find - the British Toilet Association, Research Institute for Disabled Consumers, and Changing places as well as the GLA.

The standard design originates from the British Standards Institute but, astonishingly, they do not know who came up with it, whether it was tested on people who cannot walk or how to go about getting it improved.

That’s a really interesting proposition. I shall certainly complete the form. I may be able to do more too…

In my old life I refurbished and fitted out commercial property, so often had to pay attention to DDA requirements. Funny to think now, as I have to negotiate the “public pee”, that I used to design in requirements according to regulations but frankly, never engaged mentally with what it would mean to an actual disabled person. Having passed already through several phases of disability, I will reach out to some access consultants I know as I talk their language and may help them to design better. Well, I can try, anyway…

AKA Maude, could not register as Maude since the change. I do not live in London but do visit often, so did the questionnaire. This is a nationwide issue. What gets me is the tiny useless basin with huge tap, so you end up looking like you didn’t get there in time! And hand driers that are too high for wheelchair users!

P o s t m a d e m e c r y

C on f i r m a t i o n t ha t a b l e b o d i e d f o l k d o n t ‘g e t i t’

T h a n k y o u f o r h o n e s t a d m i s s i o n

E l