Has anyone of Black or Minority Ethnicity applied for wig help via the NHS within the last 5 years?

Has anyone of Black or Minority Ethnicity applied for wig help via the NHS within the last 5 years?

Apologies, it's a long post.

My SLE caused my hair loss back in 2002. I was very devastated at the time as I loved having my hair braided and the versatility of the different style I could have.

My hair loss ultimately affected my self-esteem and body image in a major way. At that time I was unaware I was entitled to help with wigs costs and got by wearing cheap synthetic wigs from typically Asian retailers who specialise in hair products for African/Caribbean people.

Due to financial obstacles and having to purchase cheap wigs they only had a short shelf life usually 8 to 12 weeks (with everyday use) and then i would need a new one. I got by doing this, then in 2007 I enquired with my Lupus nurse about getting a good quality human hair wig that could last year's as opposed to weeks from the NHS.

At that time I was entitled to full help as I'd had a lupus flair and was on benefits. Also by now my natural hair had no life in it. It was always brittle and dry, coupled with my bald patches, I'd given up caring for it and hid it instead.

I was unaware of the process but I was given a list of wig specialists in my area and not one catered to my ethnicity. For me the point is for a wig to look as natural as possible and these options wasn't going to cut it.

I asked if it be possible I choose a retailer that could cater to afro hair and claim the money back somehow but I was told no as this didn't follow the procedures set. My first thought was if this is the case then what happens if a black person had to have cancer treatment and lost all their hair, where would they stand in regards to getting a nhs wig?

In the end I accepted the voucher as i was curious to see if i could get something natural enough to suit me. The lady who saw to me was lovely but I could tell that she felt a bit awkward when I went in her shop. The prices astounded me! I just felt this is what I've been missing out on. I ended up with a dark brown bob. It felt so silky and you could tell the difference in quality to the synthetic wigs I'd been use to, but I wasn't entirely happy as it didn't look natural as my hair texture is more course.

I felt defeated and deflated by the whole experience especially with it being the millennium and the rise of multiple ethnicities in this country. I can only speak for my area and it might have been more accessible in other places around the UK.

Fast forward to 2015. I have hit financial hard times and my appearance matters to me. And I'm sure we can all relate to how our condition can affect the way we look and feel. I decided to research the NHS wig section and to my surprise there was a section about cancer and hair loss if you are black or minority!!!

So I was wondering if anybody has has recent experience in this area as I'd like to know the process, did it run smoothly, could you choose retailer etc

I appreciate the time anyone takes to read this.

3 Replies

  • Hi,

    I am white but I got wigs on nhs. I get 4 a year. Speak to your rheumatologist and ask about it. I am in Scotland so it may differ in different parts of the country.

    Good luck


  • Hello and thanks for your reply.

    I can't believe you get 4 wigs a years! Though I suppose Scotland is a country in its own right with different rules.

    May I ask, are the wigs you're supplied human or synthetic?

    I next see my rheumatologist in May, so I'm definitely going to pursue it then.

    Thanks again

  • They are synthetic because the nhs won't cover human hair its too expensive. But they are good quality and last a long time. Good luck

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