Health campaigners in Moray have called for a maintenance charge for wash and dry toilets to be scrapped as part of a wide-scale review.
The controversial £108.16 annual cost to maintain the equipment was introduced last year after previously being free for more than a decade.
Some users, who are unable to clean themselves without access to the facility, branded the introduction as an “absolute disgrace”.
Health and Social Care Moray has now confirmed the charge will remain next year despite an attempt to have it reduced.
However, the organisation, which is a Moray Council and NHS Grampian partnership, has explained the wash and dry toilet fee will be looked at again as part of a larger review.
Yesterday Chris Bridgeford, chairman of chronic pain group Affa Sair, who also has the equipment in his own home, urged officials to think again about the bill.
He said: “They need to look at it. It’s grossly unfair for such a basic necessity of life – every time you clean yourself you are paying for it.
“It’s not some kind of luxury item, these are used by people who are physically unable to clean themselves.
“I don’t agree with the charge, it’s wrong.”
Members of Health and Social Care Moray’s integrated joint board agreed the wash and dry toilet charge, which remains subject to council approval, for next year among others at its most recent meeting.
However, the organisation also backed a review of all non-means tested charges during 2021, which could lead to a shake-up of costs in future years.
Other services to be included in the review include maintenance fees for stair lifts and the Moray Lifeline community alarm system.
Elgin City North councillor Frank Brown, who attended the most recent Health and Social Care Moray board meeting as the Conservative representative, had pressed for the fee to be reviewed now.
He said: “I’m disappointed that despite trying to show why this particular charge was unacceptable in that this facility provides our most disabled people with some dignity for one of life’s basic functions, something we all take for granted, I got no support.
“While I understand the financial pressures on the board we must ensure that charges are imposed carefully.
“This charge runs contrary to all the principles of free at the point of delivery.”
When the wash and dry toilet charge was introduced Health and Social Care Moray explained the money would be used to ensure services were more sustainable amid budget pressures.
A spokeswoman explained the proposed price freeze remained subject to final approval.
She said: “The statutory duty for the setting of social care charges lies with Moray Council.
“The board has approved proposed charges for 2021/22 for recommendation to Moray Council for approval and inclusion into the budget setting processes.
“A review of non-means tested charges will be undertaken during 2021 and a report will be presented to the board in due course.”