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Stroke and heart attack warning over toilet shortage6th of February 2012
A lack of public toilets puts vulnerable people at greater risk of strokes and heart attacks, it is being claimed.
Consultant nurse Karen Logan told members of the Welsh Assembly that holding on to a full bowel or bladder may increase the heart rate and raise blood pressure. "For very old, ill and vulnerable people this could cause a stroke, a heart attack and other health implications," she said.
The Welsh Assembly was discussing the growing public toilet crisis in the UK. British Toilet Association director Mike Bone told members that the number of toilets across the UK has decreased by around 40 per cent over the last 10 years.
He said people working in vehicles - such as truck drivers, road maintenance workers, taxi drivers and police officers - were particularly affected.
"There are reports that, for example, police have been told that if they can't find a toilet they must go back to the station," said Bone. "You can imagine the cost in terms of their time and the fact that they're not available to deal with crime.
"We've already heard about lorry drivers who've been fined for using a lay-by as a toilet when they've tried in five different towns to find one. So this is a really big issue."
Karen Logan, who is head of the continence service at Aneurin Bevan Health Board in south-east Wales, admitted there was no concrete evidence to support her claims that providing inadequate toilet provision could be harmful to the health.
"I don't think it is quantified, but it's probable that the physiological effect of holding on to a full bladder or bowel could have health implications," she said.