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NHS: Changing Places

Volume 662: debated on Tuesday 18 June 2019

9. What steps he is taking to ensure that people can access Changing Places facilities when they use NHS services. (911410)

Last year, I announced £2 million funding for NHS trusts in England to install Changing Places facilities in hospitals; this is now available for trusts to bid for. We estimate that 250,000 people in the UK cannot use standard accessible toilets, and the fund could help to install well over 100 more Changing Places facilities.

Many of the disabled children who use Changing Places facilities also have a life-limiting or life-threatening condition. I welcome the increase in Changing Places facilities, but in this national Children’s Hospice Week could I ask my hon. Friend to go further in protecting these vulnerable children by increasing the children’s hospice grants to £25 million to give them the financial security they need?

I am really pleased that my hon. Friend has mentioned that it is Children’s Hospice Week. It is a great opportunity to pay tribute to the incredible work that children’s hospices do up and down the country, supporting some of our most poorly children and their families. I thank my hon. Friend for the work that she does on the all-party parliamentary group for children who need palliative care. The short answer to her question is yes; the NHS will match fund CCGs that increase their investment in children’s palliative care, including hospices, by up to £7 million. That is increasing support to a total of £25 million a year by 2023-24.

There are only about 40 Changing Places facilities in the NHS at the moment. I congratulate the Minister on the work she is doing on this, but will she continue to work with campaigners like Lorna Fillingham in my constituency to make sure that it not only happens quickly and on a timely basis but that we build on it in the future?

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman because it was he who introduced me to Lorna Fillingham and the amazing Changing Places campaigners in the first place. It is really down to their incredible work that we have seen the growth of this very important issue. There are about 38 Changing Places facilities on NHS England estates at the moment, but the £2 million pot will definitely help to improve that number significantly.