Changing Places - I couldn't help myself....

10th Dec 2015

CP Royal 3 CP Royal 1

I have just returned home from a visit to Chesterfield and North Derbyshire Royal Hospital at Calow, known locally as' The Royal', where I've been visiting my tiny, baby great-nephew in the Nightingale Ward.

As many of you will know Nightingale Ward is on the Scarsdale Wing. What you may not know is that Scarsdale Wing is also the home of the Royal's only Changing Places toilet.

I realise that toilet talk is not everyone's cup of tea but as the saying goes 'When you gotta go, you gotta go....' and for people who need changing when they're out that poses problems! It means only going out for a couple of hours at a time or being changed on a public toilet floor - which really doesn't bear thinking about. It took almost 11 years of campaigning to get one of these wonderful facilities at the Royal which is why every time I visit the hospital I have to go and look at it (yes, really!) With older parents as well as children I find myself a 'regular' there for one appointment or another. Each time I go I promise whoever I am with that this time I won't go and have a look at it - 'I promise I won't....'

I made that same promise to myself this evening: 'I've seen the Changing Places dozens of times. I know what it looks like, smells like, feels like and even sounds like - and I don't need to look at it again today....' I was still saying this to myself as I walked through the door to have a look at it. (Well, it's on the way to Nightingale Ward after all and, I mean, where's the harm.....?')

There it was: as spacious. clean, bright and gorgeous as ever: equipped with all the wonderful things anyone could wish for: an adult-sized, height-adjustable changing bench, a ceiling hoist, a loo, sink, bins and all the space you could wish for. 'Aaaaah.....' (Big sigh) I told myself that there was absolutely no need to take any photos: that I'd taken loads before and that one day my habit of photographing toilets would get me into trouble.......'Click', 'Click': there I was with the phone before I knew it.

Eventually I dragged myself out and went to visit my nephew. He is beautiful but poorly and so very fragile. At least he is receiving the very best of care from the professional medics and his family alike and hopefully  will soon be on the road to recovery. We are so fortunate to live in a society that cares so much about each and every citizen: one that is prepared to go the extra mile to preserve and enhance life. 

After my visit, as I walked back through the ward, I noticed the many wonderful Christmas touches that had gone into making each child's stay in hospital that little bit more bearable: the snowy scenes and brightly coloured pictures reminding every child that Santa is just around the corner. As I passed the Changing Places door once more I smiled: I couldn't help thinking that this year for me, he came early..... 

Accessible Derbyshire

For more information on Changing Places see the Changing Places section of our website or visit