Chesterfield woman 'disgusted' at council for closing public toilets during lockdown
A Chesterfield woman with an Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) has hit out at the council for not keeping enough public toilets open during lockdown.
Sue Dolman, a care support worker from Hollingwood was almost caught short on two occasions in Chesterfield town centre last week.
The 54-year-old tested positive for Covid-19 last year and was rushed into Chesterfield Royal Hospital and put into a coma.
When Sue woke up, she was told she experienced heart failure from the virus – which now makes walking difficult – and then suffered two mini strokes that put her back into hospital.
She was also diagnosed with microscopic colitis – an inflammation of the large intestine.
Sue said she felt ‘demeaned’ and 'embarrassed’ after struggling to find an open public toilet in the town while waiting for an opticians appointments.
She took pictures of the roped off loos in the precinct, closed toilets in the indoor market and the notice next to the locked toilets in the Changing Places in Market Hall, which told visitors to ring the council to ask for a key to use the facilities.
Sue added: "If somebody is visiting the town you haven't got time to be applying for keys, you need to access a toilet – it is just disgusting.
"It is not just us with bowel conditions, there are other disabilities and children and the elderly.
"If I know that I have got to go into town for an appointment I keep going to the toilet over and over and over, I get really anxious and keep having panic attacks.
"We have to go to town, we have appointments, we have bills to pay, you can't just stay at home in case you need the toilet.”
Chesterfield Borough Council said the Changing Places facilities are available to registered users and toilets are open in the Pavements Centre between 9am and 3pm on Monday to Saturday
A spokesperson added: “We recognise how important public toilets are for many people and understand that for some people they are absolutely vital.
"We have kept council-run facilities open where we can, in line with the Government’s Covid-19 guidance but this has meant a temporary reduction in some services.
"However, as lockdown eases our usual service will be re-instated and those in the Market Hall will reopen.”