MORE THAN 650 people have signed a petition calling for a hairdressing salon to have its NHS wig-fitting contract restored.
Labour MSP Helen Eadie has also joined calls for NHS Fife to overturn its cancellation of Sheds Hairdressing in Dunfermline’s contract.
The salon trimmed and fitted wigs for patients who had lost their hair through cancer treatment or other illnesses.
But in March their contract was cancelled, as the NHS said the salon was not disabled-friendly due to its first-floor consulting room.
The salon’s stunned director Douglas Barr said he was more than happy to carry out home visits, and Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie pointed out this met disabled access requirements.
Patients reacted with fury at the decision and have set up an online petition calling for the “vital” service to be restored.
Now Mrs Eadie has raised the issue in the Scottish Parliament, and suggested the cancellation was down to Scottish Government cuts.
She said: “When a patient in Scotland needs a hairpiece they have a template crafted for them using the skills of the specially trained hairpiece provider.
“This is quite an art form because the most skilled hairdresser will ensure the hairline matches the patients’.
“The colouring and thikness of the hair is matched.
“Then careful shaping and fitting.
“The story that now seems to be emerging is that in the name of the Scottish Government’s austerity measures the hairpieces will be provided but no longer tailor-made.
“Instead a catalogue will be provided at bargain basement prices with no quality and you will use mail order and just have to put up with what comes in the post.
Mr Barr, whose salon helped more than 200 people suffering hair loss before the contract was cancelled, said he was overwhelmed by the support he was receiving.
He said: “The people we are giving a service to, a lot of them are in a bad place. The last thing they want is to go out with something on which will make them stand out.
“We personalise them. The hairpieces some in with about a third too much hair, which we tailor to the individual.”
Fife MSP and Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie has also written tot he health secretary over the issue.
He said: “It seems to me to be illogical.
“I’ve had a lot of messages from customers who can’t understand why they’re taking such a belligerent attitude.
“I think it’s an official being overzealous. The NHS can’t quote the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) to support them because Sheds are DDA compliant – they offer home visits.
“They should review and reverse the decision.”
In a letter he wrote to health secretary Alex Neil, he says: “[my constituent] explained that it’s not unusual for people who have lost their hair to feel angry and depressed and worry about how their friends and family see them.
“She said that Sheds offer a vital service to people within Fife, and she is extremely concerned that this will leave a huge gap in provision of these services.”
NHS have have said some contracts were cancelled after service providers did not meet “specific criteria.”