WestEndExtra

The independent London newspaper

Hotel staff denied me use of their loo despite my prostate cancer

07 February, 2020

• I AM currently undergoing radiotherapy for prostate cancer. Part of the preparation is taking an enema and, once that has worked, drinking five cups of water. This is designed to prevent damage to the surrounding tissue.

The resulting need to be near a toilet after treatment is essential as it can be both unpredictable and urgent. Each patient develops their own coping mechanisms for the journey home.

On Friday January 31 I felt confident to leave the hospital to walk home. However by the time I reached Upper Woburn Place it became clear that I desperately needed a toilet.

It was too early for the bar I sometimes use and so I attempted to enter the Ambassadors Hotel. I was met by a man and a woman who asked if they could help. I said that I was looking for the toilet but the reply came back they did not allow the general public to use their facilities.

I explained that I was being treated for prostate cancer. Again the man said that I could not use the toilet. I pressed the urgency of the situation but I was told that unless I had booked a room or was in a meeting I could not use their facilities.

I’m afraid I lost my temper realising that I was getting nowhere with such intransigence. I fled the building and, in great distress and discomfort, managed to get to my dentist three streets away without having an accident.

Having been looked after by the warm, caring, and supportive team of the NHS at the UCHL it was chilling to come out to the cold reality of two people who had no sympathy, understanding, compassion or care of my dire situation.

I hardly proved a security risk and I can’t imagine they are inundated by members of the public asking to use their toilet.

So I would of thought they would have found it possible to make an exception given my desperate situation. I wonder if they show the same level of service to their guests.

MICHAEL ELLES
WC1 

• Editor’s note: the hotel has been contacted for comment.

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