My GP never did get around to contacting me to ask me to review the accessible facilities at the new practice, Sandstone Medical Centre. It's a bit of a shame as the practice is a brand new conversion in an older building and should have been a shiny example of accessibility bling. Instead it is, and no offence to my lovely GP's, a great example of how to spend lots of money on making a building comply to the legal regulations without actually providing proper, working access.
The accessible toilet is the only toilet for patients and possibly staff too on the ground floor. It's situated next to the lift and very close to the patient waiting area which could potentially be a problem if the waiting room is busy and particularly if anyone requires assistance in the toilet. The toilet has been built to what appear to be the minimum size requirements and opens directly onto the waiting room. This means that it would be almost impossible for a carer to remain in the toilet with the person requiring assistance and should someone pull the cord for assistance they would be exposed in a most undignified manner to the whole waiting room as there is no privacy curtain and no space to easily place one. A privacy curtain is rarely present in accessible toilets which baffles me as it's one of the cheapest and easiest adjustments to make. In addition to the lack of privacy curtain, the width of the door looks very tight for a wheelchair user; fine if one is petite and using a child's size wheelchair like myself but not fine for anyone using a normal or bariatric sized wheelchair. That shouldn't be surprising as the door to the adjacent nurse's room has been hung the wrong way round meaning it is completely impossible to access for anyone using a wheelchair or pushing a pram.*
The tiles are white and it is very bright inside the loo. A small space with strip lights and white tiles is potentially dazzling and could cause difficulty for anyone with visual problems, migraines or just a typical toddler to control. The big problem though is that the grab rails are stainless steel against white which just reflects the light and makes them very difficult to see properly. The help cord is correctly hanging down to floor level but unfortunately sited in the far corner of the loo, behind the toilet meaning anyone on the floor would need my kind of contortionist skills to reach it. I'm going to confidently predict that most of the patients using the toilet will not be able to bend like a pretzel and therefore be floor bound until someone notices their absence or wants to use the toilet. Mind you, it's so dinky in there you'd need to have the pretzel bending gene to even lie on the floor!
And finally...there's not even a mirror for my lipgloss!
*This may have been corrected since I took these photos