Lack of choice with wig prescription

I live in Portsmouth, UK, area and here you have no choice where you take your wig prescription. It goes direct to Browns Hairdressers at the McMillan suite for cancer patients at QA Hospital. The environment is totally wrong - like an office (with a large cupboard for wigs.) I should be able to go somewhere that can offer me a better choice/variety/service and more importantly, better value for money. As they have been given the monopoly, their prices have increased and now extortionate! With their surplus charge together with prescription charge, it would cost me double to get my usual wigs from my usual supplier Thought prescriptions were to help us save us money. What about the Patient Freedom of Choice?

11 Replies

  • Hmmm..I had similar experience at Ipswich although the supplier is quite good but they didn't have anything I felt was ' my hair' just about 5 styles in variety of colours. Not sure how this works.. and who to complain to? Xx L

  • I have a leaflet from the Portsmouth Hospitals NHS with addresses etc., where to complain to. The main one seems to be the Independent Complaints Advocacy Services. Also the hospital has a dept called 'Patient and Customer Services Team'. Then there is the Chief Executive (for your area) and if all else fails, it advises getting in touch with Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, Millbank Tower, Millbank, London SW1P 4QP. Obviously the former named contacts will vary according to locality. I just feel that because Alopecia is not terminal and we are not in pain with it, nobody is really interested or cares, in spite of the awful depression it causes most of us. I am in the process of writing to complain about not having the choice of where to take my prescription to get best value for money etc.

  • That's awful ... I chose my wig from a suitcase in sisters officeof chemo unit very strange experience but I had a lot of choice... my wig was free and I think that's is as it should be unless you want something out of the ordinary (not sure what that would be lol) your wig should be free... I have purchased a few fun wigs but that was my choice ... it's so wrong having to pay a premium 😡

  • Thats not good, in Somerset I was given a voucher but still had to pay the standard £68 Ish. I had an hour appointment with a lovely nurse, it was in her office however she has lovely round tables and good mirrors. I was able to look through about 4 brochures of different wig suppliers. She ( the nurse) recommended a couple of styles she thought may be right for me. I tried lots on and in different colours. She ordered 4 for me to look at and if none of them had been suitable she would have given me more time.

    In the end I chose a wig, had it trimmed by a professional wig/hairdresser at an extra cost and everyone loved it. It was just me that didn't get on with wearing it!!! I wore it about 4 times and preferred to wear just a combat cap, a scarf when I was cold or nothing at all in the house and garden.

    Sorry you've had a not good experience.

    Clare xx

  • I missed my appointment with the hospital wig clinic and as I was already in two minds as it whether it was for me I didn't reschedule. I heard of so many people that only actually wear one for two or three times before they give up as they are hot and uncomfortable.

    Before I actually lost my hair I thought that I would not be comfortable showing my bald head to my husband and son let alone anybody else, I told my boss that showing him my bald head would be on par with showing him my tits and that wasn't going to happen either 😂

    Surprisingly I decided to break the ice and uploaded a new profile photo to Facebook just after shaving my head. I had a lovely heart warming response from my friends and family mostly telling me I was amazing for doing so and was beautiful and rocked the new look.

    Fortunately now the cold weather is hear I look perfectly fine in my cashmere beanie generously bought for me by a kind friend. I now have a huge collection of hats and beanies and refuse to wear any of the 'chemo hats' I bought in preparation as I now feel that they are just not me.

    I am happy to get my bald head out most of the time, but still a little comfortable the first time someone sees me. But hey, I have nothing to be ashamed of. My new philosophy is that if my head offends anyone they should look the other bloody way.

  • I'm 100% with you Carole666 that's exactly what I did and thought. turned out it wasn't anywhere near as bad as I'd feared!

    I'm in Devon and had a £99 voucher for Brown's hairdressers in Plymouth. the wigs were awful - like bad 1980's Pat Sharp bleached straw-like monstrosities. All the wigs that were vaguely tolerable were another £100 on top :( So I went bald ... even went to a friends wedding with a fuchsia pink fascinator atop my shiny head ... laugh and the world laughs with you :) xx

  • Thank you all for your replies. Actually you are confirming what I have always felt - that if you have a bad experience in the beginning, you could be put right off wigs forever. Also in the early days, I think you need a surrounding that is bordering on the glamorous because most of us lose our self esteem when our hair goes. I've experienced hair loss, in varying degrees over many years, and when it eventually all fell out at menopause, I was devastated. However, it turned out to be the best thing. I have been wearing wigs since about 2002 and in the early days, I liked them but didn't love them - but certainly do now! I discovered that you sometimes have to kiss a lot of frogs to find your prince but when you do find 'the one' - the right style, the right colour and the right fit/size - you get your life back. Most people don't realise that I'm wearing a wig (so I never get stared at and/or comments), go sailing in it, find it really comfortable and I usually forget it's not my real hair. There is life after Alopecia!

  • I have treatment in Cambridge, & my wig was free, though I never wore it in the end Di

  • I went to Hairware at Europa park, Swindon (they're online). They are a warehouse with probably 3000 wigs in stock as apart from Hairware wigs, which I have found excellent, they are the main supplier for Revlon wigs in the UK. If you phone them and ask to speak to Marie you can book an hours appointment and try on as many wigs as you like. It's helpful to tell Marie what colours or styles you think you'd like beforehand and she can order them in if necessary. As an NHS patient you get 25% off and there may be other special offers.

  • I'm amazed at the different experiences here. I thought everyone would get a free, good quality wig like I did. I can't believe some of you had to pay-chemo is bad enough, we need all the help we can get!!

    Lou xx

  • Here in Ireland we pay up front and claim it back from the Health Board but they only pay a third. When on Holiday in Malaga, we used have coffee near a wig shop and I have to say the styles and prices were reasonable in comparison to here, I think my last wig cost about 450 euro, I could have flown to Malaga and made a holiday out of it.

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