On Wednesday 2nd May the Toilet Police appeared on Rip Off Britain to comment on the disability facilities in restaurants. In response to the show we have received a number of reviews from the public on their own experiences with facilities in public places labelled disabled.
It is too often that the disabled facilities are so bad its laughable. This results in not being able to go to the loo without people noticing, as the disabled bathroom tends to be used for storage, locked or inaccessible for a variety of reasons. Accessibility has improved a little bit but disabled toilets are still few and far between.
Just last year, Paralympian Anne Wafula Strike, MBE, spoke out of her humiliation in wetting herself on a train as there was no disabled toilet available. She expressed how she felt completely robbed of her dignity as she had to continue her journey covered in urine. The only solution offered to her was to make her way off the train at the next stop to use that stations disabled washroom. However this would result in a delay on her journey as she would then have to wait for the next train. She went on to state that “having access to a disabled toilet especially in a developed nation like the UK is one of the most basic human rights”.
We couldn’t agree more, in Rip Off Britain we spoke out about how it is a disgrace to a country that is in the Western world in the 21st century, still having disabled toilets that are generally not up to standard. Or worse no disabled toilet at all.
Complaints Are Heard But Nothing Changes
Unfortunately this is too common a problem with disabled facilities not being available for use. One member of the public talks about her experience with taking her son to Newquay Zoo. A trip to the Zoo should be a fun family day out but this family left after only an hour of arriving, as their son was unable to fit his wheelchair into the disabled toilet. They have informed us they have contacted the Zoo a number of times the past few years and still nothing has changed. Read more about this family’s experience here.
Even in circumstances when venues have been revamped in response to complaints they can still be inaccessible, with Amie Miles informing us that the disabled toilet was still inaccessible after a revamp of a McDonald’s (even large chains get it wrong!!). The door leading to the bathroom was a heavily weighed non- automatic door which opens outward into the restaurant.
Another member of the public, Michael Spencer, informed us that his wife who has a stoma and wears a colostomy bag has never come across a disabled toilet that has the facility for her to change her pouch. It is only when a changing table is present that they have somewhere to place her bag however she rightfully sees this as unhygienic, a place to lay out her belongings should be catered for. Disabled toilets that also include a changing table lead to the question why don’t they have separate bathrooms as the availability of disabled toilets in a venue is extremely limited. The building regulations state that if there is a lack of space a unisex accessible toilet should take precedence.
In one shocking review of Brooklands Museum in Surrey, Carol Mason informed us that the disabled toilet floor was wet leading the person to struggle to keep their feet from getting wet with what we can only imagine to be a liquid you would not wish to step in. This leads to a very simple demand but important. Disabled toilets shouldn’t just be an afterthought, its facilities should be up to the same standards as those of general toilets. If dining out with friends and families in a stylish venue, you should experience the same conditions as those of the people you have attended the venue with.
Change is not quick enough and there are still many establishments that have no disabled facilities whatsoever and this needs to change. See our previous posts on what we like to term Ludicrous Loos – sometimes there is just a lack of common sense……….
You Have To Laugh But Not Too Hard……
Unfortunately the problem remains that even when disabled facilities are put in place they are still not always accessible. It’s laughable/embarrassing when you have to ask diners to move to get to a disabled loo behind a table. This was the case at The Ivy & Vinoteca in London and not being able to shut or get through a door to the toilet is cause for a titter/concern!!
If you have any disabled toilet stories join the DT Police and send them here, contact us.