Why even things that take a long time are worth doing

Update from Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust

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About: East Surrey Hospital

picture of Ian Mackenzie

About four years ago I was approached by the mother of a severely disabled child asking why we didn't have a "Changing Places" toilet at East Surrey Hospital.  To be honest I'm not sure that I even knew what one was and the reason we didn't have one was quite simple - we'd never considered it.   

The photographs accompanying the e-mail made it very clear why we needed such a facility and I undertook to get one built.   Now some years later we are about to open our "Changing Places" toilet and I'm left in a bit of a quandary....    Why has it taken so long to create such an obviously essential facility? 

The Changing Places Consortium launched its campaign in 2006 on behalf of the over 1/4 of a million people who cannot use standard accessible toilets. This includes people with profound and multiple learning disabilities, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, as well as older people.   

It seems extraordinary that so few hospitals have such a toilet but it is how things are at the moment; I'm sure it will change as I sense that we are a tipping point.   The new Tottenham stadium I saw has two and West Ham have three; I'm sure that we will see far more appearing in new builds of all sorts across the country.

Now finally we are about to open ours and last week I had the honour of showing a regular hospital visitor with MND around the new facility and I was moved by how much it clearly meant to him that we now are able to support him and others in this way. 

So for me the moral is clear - it would be better to do something as soon as it's needed, but even if it takes a long time the right thing is always worth doing

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