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'Suitable for all' - hospital launches gender neutral toilets

PUBLISHED: 15:46 07 November 2019 | UPDATED: 18:19 07 November 2019

Gorleston's James Paget University Hospital has launched its first gender neutral toilet 
Picture: Nick Butcher

Gorleston's James Paget University Hospital has launched its first gender neutral toilet Picture: Nick Butcher

Archant © 2018

A Norfolk hospital has launched a gender neutral toilet alongside new disabled ones in its main foyer.

The new facilities at the James Paget University Hospital, in Gorleston, have been funded by lease income from the M&S cafe.

As well as the gender neutral cubicle the new toilets also have adaptations suitable for stoma patients.

Patients with a stoma sometimes face verbal abuse when trying to access disabled toilets, the hospital says, but now the facilities are "suitable for all."

A gender-neutral toilet is one that is available for use by either the male or female gender and for people who have difficulty with sex-separated public toilets, like transgender and non-binary people who may feel uncomfortable.

They are also useful for parents wishing to accompany one or more of their young children needing to use the loo.

In reality it is little more than a sign on a door - in this case a stylised figure which is half male and half female.

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The new toilet block is in a courtyard area opposite the M&S food store.

It comprises separate male and female toilets with more cubicles, three accessible toilets for patients/carers with disabilities - one of which is also a gender neutral bathroom - and a changing places accessible toilet.

Director of finance Mark Flynn said: "A great deal of thought and planning has gone into creating these new facilities, which are modern and suitable for all visitors to our hospital.

"We've made sure that the project has delivered good value for money - and have achieved this by financing it through the income stream generated by lease arrangements for the M&S outlet.

"We're particularly pleased that we've been able to incorporate a changing places toilet into the scheme, as we know that standard accessible toilets do not meet the needs of all people with a disability.

"People with profound and multiple learning disabilities, as well people with other physical disabilities such as spinal injuries, muscular dystrophy and multiple sclerosis often need extra equipment and space to allow them to use toilets safely and comfortably.

"These needs are met by changing places toilets, which provide facilities including a height adjustable adult-sized changing bench, a hoist system, enough space for a disabled person and their carers and a non-slip floor."

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