NHS Chiefs spend £4 million on wigs


By Oliver Farrimond

BOSSES at NHS Scotland have given the approval to spend £4 million on wigs.

Four Scots companies have won the lucrative contract to supply the Scottish NHS with hairpieces, as well as wig cleaning and repair services.

The firms – one based in Glasgow and three in the Capital – will supply NHS Scotland with wigs for four years.

The contract, which has been published on the Scottish Government’s procurement website, describes the contract as being “for the Supply of Wigs to NHS Scotland covering the range of custom made and stock human hair wigs, modacrylic wigs, wig repairs and cleaning & redressing of wigs.”

Each firm was assessed according to strict criteria – quality and cost of supply – both worth 40% – and delivery and service – worth 10% each.

The wigs are supplied to NHS Scotland primarily to deal with patients losing their hair as a side-effect of powerful treatments.

A spokesman for National Services Scotland said: “The main reason for getting wigs through the NHS is cancer, or treatment for alopecia.

“They are also quite often used for burns victims as well.”

“The £4 million figure is based on both historic and projected spending, and also reflects the cost of the wigs involved.

“An acrylic wig can cost anything between £60 and £100, and ones with custom-made human hair can be anything from £300-£700.

“They’re all issued through prescriptions via a clinician, which means in Scotland they’re free for all in and out-patients.”

Lynn Barton, of LA Hair Solutions, Morningside, is one of four salons across the country to get money from the £4 million pool.

The salon takes a cast of patients’ heads and creates both acrylic and real-hair wigs for cancer and alopecia patients.

Ms Barton, whose salon has won the contract for the first time, said of the contract: “We are confident it will have a positive effect on our business.”

Julia Frater, Cancer Research UK’s senior cancer information nurse, said that wigs played on “important role” in helping people recover from the side effects of treatment.

She said: “Unfortunately some treatments for cancer have side effects and certain chemotherapy drugs can cause temporary hair loss.

“We believe it’s vital that patients receive the care and support they need to help them cope with these side effects, and the provision of wigs can play an important role in this.”

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  1. My 18 year old daughter sadly died of cancer last year . The treatment she received chemotherapy caused her hair to fall out,this was an extremely difficult time for us all as a family having to watch someone we love dearly suffer in this way. The nursing staff were wonderful and informed us that my daughter would be eligible for a free nhs wig. This was arranged and both my daughter and myself were very excited to see the wigs on offer. Unfortunately for my daughter and the many other thousands of black cancer patients across the country, getting a wig provided by the nhs would mean, that we would have to wear the same hair/wig as a white patient would wear because the nhs does not provide wigs for black patients. This was very discouraging and i feel discriminatory as black cancer patients deserve the same dignity and respect as any other patient regardless of his or her ethnicity. I am looking for some feedback from anyone who feels as strongly as i do about giving black cancer patients the same rights as white cancer patients.

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