We know that access to public toilets is vital for people living with Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis. On World Toilet Day (19 November) the London Assembly has launched a report on the availability of public toilets in London. It found that London's loos are lacking and need improvement.
The report finds that, although public toilets are integral to making the capital accessible, inclusive, and economically viable, London's loos are not meeting expectations. It gives 12 recommendations for tackling this across three main areas.
We gave evidence to the committee on Tuesday 14th September and welcome the report, which includes recommendations on many of the points we raised.
We also promoted the survey which informed the report – thank you to all those who completed this, your responses have clearly been heard. Thank you also to our ambassador, Dr Carrie Grant MBE, and to Femi and Sarah who all feature in a video to support the launch of the report, which highlight the importance of access to toilets for people with Crohn’s, Colitis and other conditions that may not be visible.
What does the report call for?
The report calls on the UK government, Mayor, London councils and Transport for London to act in some key areas.
It says that the UK government should make the provision of public toilets a statutory duty for local authorities, with specific funding allocated. It also says that the Mayor should lead on this issue for London, working with London councils.
The report also states that each local authority should produce a toilet strategy based on population need and current provision. It also calls on Transport for London to meet with charities, including Crohn’s & Colitis UK and Changing Places, to review what they currently provide for people with disabilities and people with long-term health conditions and join our 'Not Every Disability Is Visible' campaign.
We have already had a positive, initial meeting with Transport for London about how we can work together to improve access to toilets for people with Crohn’s and Colitis across the network, including information, signage, toilet design and staff training.
What do we think needs to be done?
We know that the availability of toilets is vital to the wellbeing and quality of life for people with Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis.
We believe that everyone living with Crohn’s and Colitis should have access to publicly available toilets, free of charge and without fear of public prejudice and discrimination. Access to toilets is essential to people with Crohn’s, Colitis and other hidden disabilities accessing education, work, and social activities. This is a matter of personal and public health, equality, and social inclusion.
The London Assembly Health Committee’s report follows two previous investigations by the committee into toilet provision in London. While it shines a much-needed light on the issue, we need to see more action to ensure that the recommendations are implemented.
We will continue to work across the UK to improve access to toilets for people with Crohn’s and Colitis. You can read more about this in our position statement on access to toilets.