Fewer than 20 hotel rooms in UK equipped with hoists for disabled guests

Chris Tomson and Anne Vivian-Smith say that their opportunities to travel are severely limited by the lack of hotel facilities Credit: ITV News Central

Disabled people who rely on hoists to get in and out of their wheelchairs have told ITV News that the lack of facilities in hotel rooms makes travel an "absolute nightmare."

There are fewer than 20 hotel rooms in the UK which offer hoist facilities for disabled guests, although according to the Community Hoist Users Group there are an estimated quarter of a million people who rely on them.

Chris Tomson from Stoke-on-Trent has a condition which means his bones break easily and he needs a hoist to get out of his wheelchair without putting strain on a carer or himself.

He says his passion for travel is severely limited by hotel facilities.

"It's an absolute nightmare, you've got to base your choice of holiday on where the hoists are.

"[More hoists] would open more doors and more opportunities for disabled people to go on holidays to different places rather than just going to London all the time.

"It's really nice, really freeing, hoists make you feel like a real person that can actually go somewhere, be with friends, be with the people you love, just not worry about whether you can access the one feature of a hotel that's most important, and that's the bed."

Anne Vivian-Smith from Nottingham travels the country for work and has struggled with the layout of hotel rooms too. She said, "A lot of it makes me feel like I'm a second class customer and that I'm actually not welcome as a customer because there aren't rooms available for me."

"I feel like I'm an inconvenience or somebody who's being difficult whereas in reality I'm just trying to use the loo safely and get into bed."

She praised the transport network and her ability to get onto any bus with her wheelchair, but said if people with additional needs have the ability to travel, they need somewhere to stay.

Steve Catlin from the Community Hoist Users Group described the situation as "dire".

"The UK leads the world in the provision of ceiling hoists but that's nothing to shout about, it's still pretty awful.

"It's great when we see hotels come along and install hoists and that's how it should be, every new hotel should have at least one room with a hoist."

Hotel Brooklyn in Leicester does have a hoist installed. General Manager Paul Bayliss said, "Looking at it from a commercial perspective, there's £9.45 billion out there a year of people looking for accommodation - why wouldn't you just make it a part of what you do.

"In our company, accessibility is part of our DNA."

The Chief Executive of UK Hospitality said:

 “The hospitality industry is working hard to ensure it is as accessible to everyone and is committed to making the UK the most inclusive hospitality market in Europe by 2025.

"For some customers we know hoists are an absolute requirement and the industry is working to rapidly extend and increase provision, as well as ensuring there are updated accessibility guides to help improve standards and access, not just to hoists but other important accessibility aspects."