A LABOUR politician has claimed disabled people are often forced to lie on the floor because changing facilities in Paisley and the west of Scotland aren’t up to scratch, writes Jack Thomson. 

Mary Fee MSP has called on organisations to follow the example set by Renfrewshire Leisure and Glasgow Airport after they invested in Changing Places toilets last year. 

In a debate at the Scottish Parliament, Ms Fee highlighted research showing there are on average 77,000 germs and viruses on a standard toilet floor – where disabled people often have to lie because of the lack of adequate changing facilities. 

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She has since said: “It was important to raise the issue of toilet facilities for disabled people with complex and severe needs during the debate on ‘Progressing Towards a Fairer Scotland for Disabled People’.

“I have heard from many disabled people, families and carers that access to adequate toilet facilities can limit the freedom to travel and use public spaces, such as leisure centres, concert venues and stadiums. 

“This forces many to stay in their homes and only travel in their own areas.

“There was a clear shock on many MSPs faces when I told them that there are 77,000 different germs and viruses on a standard toilet floor and it was clear that none of them would be happy to lay on that floor as many disabled people are forced to.

The Gazette: Celtic Park installed a Changing Places facility Celtic Park installed a Changing Places facility

“It was great to hear that Renfrewshire Leisure and Glasgow Airport invested in Changing Places toilets last year, however we need more public and private organisations to realise the economic benefits they could reap by making their buildings and spaces more accessible to more disabled people.”

The Changing Places Consortium is a UK organisation that fights for better toilets and changing rooms for people with learning or physical disabilities.

In addition to standard disabled toilets, a Changing Places facility provides an adult-sized adjustable changing bench, a centrally placed toilet, a ceiling tracking hoist and space for a disabled person, their wheelchair and at least one carer.

Last year Renfrewshire Leisure introduced the special toilet at The Lagoon, in Paisley, and Linwood’s ON-X sports centre.

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In Glasgow, Celtic Park followed Hampden’s lead by installing a Changing Places facility. 

This led Ms Fee to write to the remaining 11 Scottish Premiership clubs, including St Mirren, in November and ask if they would consider following suit.

The MSP’s office confirmed they have yet to receive a response from the Paisley club.

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