The Public Health (Wales) Bill, has unanimously passed its final legislative stage and will now become law. This is following the disappointment last year when the Bill fell on the very last day of the Assembly session.
Part 7 of the Public Health (Wales) Bill creates a duty on all 22 local authorities in Wales to create their own local toilets strategy. By working with local partners and those affected by continence issues, the toilet strategy will have to assess the need for toilets locally and will set out the steps the local authority propose to take to increase access to toilets in their area.
They will also have to work with other local authorities to ensure that they consider access to toilets along key transport routes and within cultural venues and events.
The Public Health (Wales) Bill is a significant piece of legislation as it is the first time any institution in the UK has treated access to toilets as a Public Health concern. For someone with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), a lack of toilets and not having the confidence of finding one quickly can have a devastating impact on their ability to engage in regular activities away from home such as going to work, school, holidaying, shopping or socialising.
It’s fantastic that the Public Health (Wales) Bill has finally crossed the line and been passed with all political parties backing this groundbreaking piece of legislation.
Increasing the provision of toilets that the public can access will have a positive effect on those living with IBD, help reduce discrimination and alleviate the understandable anxiety that is often experienced about finding a toilet. The Charity put a lot of effort into lobbying on this legislation and whilst we wanted the provisions of the Bill to be stronger, we are very pleased that the Welsh Assembly are taking this crucial step to increase toilet access in Wales.
To ensure that the Act now gets properly applied, Crohn’s and Colitis UK will not only be working with the Government on the guidance issued to local authorities but we will be monitoring its implementing closely in the 22 Councils across Wales.