Kelly in the Media

No ‘place’ for disabled in new RAH

Adelaide Advertiser – Brad Crouch

THE $2.3 billion new Royal Adelaide Hospital was built without a “Changing Place”- a toilet for disabled adults, with room for a carer, table and electronic hoist.

Writing in The Advertiser today, Dignity Party President Rick Neagle criticised the nRAH and Adelaide Oval for not including a Changing Place in the designs.

“About 14,000 South Australians need a Changing Place so they can toilet safely and hygienically while out in our community.”

“South Australia is the only state or territory that doesn’t have a Changing Place,” he said.

Dignity Party MP Kelly Vincent wrote to Health Minister Jack Snelling on October 7, 2016, asking if the nRAH would have a high-level accessible toilet to meet the needs of people with severe and profound disabilities.

Six months later Mr Snelling wrote back saying the nRAH was built to the standards of the Disability Discrimination Act and the need for an disabled adult changing room was not a requirement identified at the time.

He has asked the planning team to see how such a facility might be incorporated into the hospital – and that a “post occupancy evaluation” of the nRAH will assess all aspects of functionality.

Ms Vincent said it may be difficult to retrofit such a facility, but it was needed so disabled people “were not getting changed on toilet floors”.

SA Health released a statement saying it was not common practice to have Changing Places when the hospital was designed.

“We have since had further discussions with disability groups about new accessibility requirements and will be exploring options for dedicated adult changing facilities following the hospital’s opening,” it says.

“In the interim, there are two rooms on Level 3 with ceiling mounted lifting capability, which visitors can request to use for adult changing if required.”

Revelation of the omission comes on the heels of SA Health conceding about 40,000 outpatient appointments a year will have to be farmed out to other hospitals because of lack of room at the nRAH.