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Horsham mum calls for toilets to have better facilities for disabled adults
A mother-of-three has gained the backing of more than 16,000 people in a bid to put an end to carers changing their loved ones on “urine soaked” toilet floors.
Samantha Buck’s youngest son Alfie, seven, was born with quadriplegic cerebral palsy after being starved of oxygen at birth.
But Mrs Buck, of Reapers Close, Horsham, said trips to Horsham and Crawley were severely hampered due to the inadequacy of the toilets.
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The 41-year-old said that Brighton and Hove and Gatwick both had special “changing places” toilets but these should be the norm for every town.
Mrs Buck said she was surprised at the interest in her campaign but she was determined to lead a change across the whole country.
She said: “If you are severely disabled or paralysed, you need carers to lift you out of the wheelchair and place you on a flat surface to have your continence pad changed.
“I have to lay my seven-year-old son on a urine soaked floor inside the disabled loo, with a second carer standing outside with the wheelchair which they have to pass through the open door for all passers-by to see.
“We take it for granted that we would not change a baby on the floor of a public toilet – so why on earth is this acceptable for disabled adult people?”
Changing places toilets cost about £40,000 but Mrs Buck said that a cheaper alternative for a manual hoist would cost local authorities only £2,300.
She has also called on major national retailers to dig into their pockets to help provide one of these facilities in each town.
A Crawley Borough Council spokesman said: “While most of our disabled toilets are fitted with equipment to aid the user, our current disabled toilets are restricted in size and to install extra equipment such as electric hoists to meet the changing room criteria would not be practical.”
A Horsham District Council spokesman said it was aware of the problem and, while it already had two upgraded facilities in its local leisure centres, was working to find another in a central location.
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