QA Hospital considering changing places facility for disabled patients

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THE chief executive at the helm of Queen Alexandra Hospital says that he is ‘keen to develop’ a changing places facility for disabled patients at the hospital.

Mark Cubbon, head of Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, has revealed that a changing places facility is being considered in an email exchange seen by The News.

Queen Alexandra Hospital, Cosham. Picture: Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust

Queen Alexandra Hospital, Cosham. Picture: Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust

Changing places are larger versions of disabled toilets, which include additional features such as a hoist, as well as enough space for a disabled person to get into a change of clothes, should the need arise.

The issue was brought to Mr Cubbon’s attention by 32-year-old mum Scarlett Bryant, 32 from Petersfield.

She says that her nine-year-old daughter Lyla would ‘hugely benefit’ from a changing places facility at the hospital.

Mrs Bryant said: ‘By being the mum of a child with special needs I know many people who go to the hospital who would benefit from there being a changing places facility.

Scarlett Bryant, 32 with her daughter Lyla, 9. Picture: Supplied

Scarlett Bryant, 32 with her daughter Lyla, 9. Picture: Supplied

‘At the moment, I would have to change Lyla in my car.

‘It’s shocking that you can go to a hospital and not have something like this here – but that there’s on at the Tesco supermarket in Fareham.

‘That being said, I’m happy that they’re saying there is the potential for one; there’s not many hospitals in England that have changing places.

‘Lyla goes to hospital every couple of months and I think this would hugely benefit her and others in her situation.’

Chief executive of Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, Mark Cubbon, says that the hospital has picked out a potential location for a changing places facility.

He said: ‘We are very keen to develop a suitable and compliant changing places facility within the hospital to improve the experience of patients and visitors.

‘We have looked at various potential locations in recent years but have only recently been able to identify a location which we believe will be suitable.

‘With the announcement of external funding for this purpose we will revisit this work over the next two months to be able to move forward with our plans.’

Campaigns for changing places facilities have gathered momentum over the past 12 months, particularly in Gosport – where a number of locations have been identified, such as Gosport Discovery Centre and the new Lee-on-the-Solent spash park.

Parent Kirsty Smillie is one of those campaigning for more changing places to be installed across the Solent region.

She said: ‘QA shouldn’t be ‘looking into it’ – they should be doing it.

‘Every hospital should have a changing places toilet – I really do hope that one is installed soon at QA, Gosport War Memorial Hospital and all doctors surgeries.’