* Cleanzine-logo-7a.jpgCleanzine: your weekly cleaning and hygiene industry newsletter 28th September 2023 Issue no. 1082

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We've been following your articles and in particular Susan Cunningham's letter, with interest, over public toilet safety now that the UK lockdown is starting to ease.

The Bladder and Bowel Community is an online information and support platform with a closed Facebook group with around 11.5K members. We are also a member of the Toilet Consortium who collectively have been monitoring information from patients, medical practitioners, scientific and government advice and deciding on the best strategy to advise our members in need.

During the lockdown months, our members have increasingly been talking about the lack of public toilets that are open and how, despite lockdown restrictions now starting to lift, they remain trapped inside their homes for fear of having an accident outside the house.

It is estimated that a staggering 14 million people in the UK suffer from some form of bladder condition and 6.5 million with a bowel condition. That means that a large portion of the population who could start to leave the home or go back to work have been left trapped and housebound for fear of having an accident whilst out.

In a recent short poll conducted by the Bladder and Bowel Community, 94% of the community, when asked, felt anxious about leaving their homes due to a lack of toilet facilities and just over 90% felt that they cannot leave their homes to go to work or visit the shops for the same reason. This has led to many sufferers feeling isolated and depressed.

We have since been advised that public toilet facilities have started to reopen over the last couple of weeks and we welcome a letter dated 28th June from two government departments that are urging local councils to reopen public toilets, so we hope that councils will take notice of this.

However, at present, many facilities remain closed and local councils haven't fully informed which facilities have been reopened and what new hygiene and social distancing measures have been put in place to keep the public safe.

That is why we are calling out for all local councils and retailers to fully inform the public which toilet facilities are available in their local area and we would welcome the introduction of a hygiene rating similar to that of the food rating standards so that the public will feel safer and reassured when out and about.

In the meantime, the Bladder and Bowel Community are urging large retailers and high street businesses to recognise the 'Just Can't Wait' toilet card, to make customers aware whether their toilet facilities are available. To those who regularly need to use public toilet facilities, the Bladder and Bowel Community recommends carrying a toilet kit and following these basic guidelines:

- Be alert, minimise what you touch with your hands
- Carry your own personalised 'toilet kit' (toilet roll, paper towels and hand sanitiser)
- Close the toilet lid before flushing to avoid contamination within a small space
- Avoid hand dryers, wash and dry your hands thoroughly with paper towels as per government guidelines (20 seconds)

With pubs, restaurants and bars now having started to open, we will be monitoring with interest whether our members feel safe with the varying measures that will be in place.

Jo Umbers,

CEO, Bladder and Bowel Community www.bladderandbowel.org

16th July 2020

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