nhs voucher for wig?

Hi everyone,

Went for appointment with hairdresser in the hospital with my friend yesterday to try on wigs after starting chemo last week. Had a giggle with some but was really pleased with one of them (my friend said it looked like me!!) but the hairdresser needed to order it in the colour i tried on a different wig plus another to try in same colour in slightly longer syle. Anyway she said they were really nice quality and had managed to include them in the nhs ones (there were some poorer quality ones that were awful) and it would cost me £63.They definitely weren't the real hair wigs. When i asked my cousin about it she said she got hers free and i have read on here about a voucher. Where do i get the voucher and should i definitely get my wig free of charge?


MB x

p.s just checked with my friend who took notes for me!!! and the wig make was 'dimples' with a 'monofilament strip' and the style was 'paris'. I just googled it and it cost £120 on simply wigs website.

47 Replies

  • Hi

    The way the NHS wigs referral works is that your oncologist fills in a prescription for you (my specialist nurse organised my recent one) which is usually organised directly with the hospital wig supplier. You then have an amount which is roughly up to £120 (not sure about the amount) that can be put towards a wig. You don't have to spend the whole amount, and you can put in the extra money in if you want to. It may be that the £63 is after the wig prescription, it's worth checking. I don't know if you need the prescription in place before placing the order. Don't worry if this is the case, you are entitled to a wig every 6 months on the NHS while its needed, I got my first one with my prescription then bought another one in a different style and colour.....as I said to the people I worked with, they'll never know what colour hair I'd have from one day to the next...hee hee!

    When you get your wig, some hospital wig suppliers will trim the fringe if you need it, others dont.If your supplier doesn't do this, look on the Internet for a website called my new hair. They have lists of hairdressers that will trim wigs for free.

    Hope that helpful

    Love Chris

  • I have alopecia it started 6weeks ago Hardly any Hair at Top the doctor gave ne Cream 2 Month ago ist just getting worse who Could helo

  • Hi MB,

    Yes.. you should get a voucher from the hospital for a wig up to the cost of £150, they will also give you a list of wig suppliers, so you can choose which hairdresser/wig fitter to go to...you might be a bit limited in choice, if you go to the one at the hospital..as they might not have their full stock of wigs with them, they don't advice to get a real hair wig (besides they cost thousands) a synthetic wig is easier to manage wash etc as it stays in the style so the one you would have chosen wouldn't be real (it probably just that it looks better quality than the others) when you get your wig the hairdresser will cut it and style it to suit you. I am not sure what the procedure is if you get your wig from the hospital.. whether they charge it to the hospital... but in my experience I was given a voucher..I have lost my hair twice now and have been given a voucher twice..best wishes x G x :-)

  • I meant to say I was given a voucher by the nurse that was on the team, they should have done this already, so if I was you I would enquire about it. I would also get your wig style and cut by the supplier as otherwise you would need to find one that is experienced in cutting wigs... and then they would charge.... to get it done straight away is an easier option... so ask them first if they do this...I feel at the hospital you are a little bit captive and vulnerable and may not get a wig that you like. xx

  • Hi I think the system may have changed, or it may depend on where you live.

    I went to my local cancer centre last month for my wig, and was told that your consultant, or your CNS will give you a prescription for a wig. You take this along to wherever wigs are issued to you within the hospital system and you have to pay 63.00 (which is usually much less than the real cost of a decent wig), but you can have a wig up to a limit of 150.00 if you pay the difference.

    However If you are claiming certain benefits you can get your wig free. Hope this helps,

    Love Brenda XX

  • Thankyou Brenda,

    Saw this AFTER i added the post about nhs choices. That does seem to fit in with what the hairdresser said (although i havent been given a prescription) but how come others have managed to get theirs for free relatively recently? I wouldnt have thought it would depend on where you live regionally although maybe Scotland/England/Wales would be. I live in the north of England and so does my cousin who got hers free last year as it seems lots of others have. Just seems a bit strange. I wouldnt qualify on the claiming benefits rule.

    MB x

  • You may be right about it not depending on the regional aspect, as coincidentally I also live in the north of England.

    It was The Robert Ogden Centre based at St James in Leeds who gave me the wig cost info. They get their wigs from a shop in the Victorie Quarter in Leeds.

    I wonder if some ladies got their wigs for free recently if their hospitals still had the NHS wigs which were supplied free?

    Brenda X

  • This doesn't make sense (having free wigs left over) as I went to an established hairdresser that is registered to fit and supply wigs as well as being a regular hairdresser (the hospital gave me a list of suppliers)

    It must be as you say different arrears (I live in the North West) the hairdresser told me that my hospital was more generous than others as the vouchers do vary from hospital to hospital.. Love x G x

  • Hi Chris and Gwyn,

    Thanks for your replies. I will ask my gynae/oncology nurse tomorrow. There wasnt a great deal of choice at the hospital hairdresser but i really did like the one i chose. Having said that i dont want to pay for it if i dont have to!! I havent committed to it, just to try it on again and the other style too but the hairdresser did say to bring cash or cheque when i come to pay for it. I just looked on the nhs choices website and the following info was available which does point towards the £63 charge so i dont think that is the 'extra' after the wig prescription as you suggested Chris? Anyway the info from nhs choices is quoted below:

    Get help for wigs and fabric supports

    Wigs are available from the NHS but patients will be charged for them unless they qualify for help with charges. There are extensive arrangements for providing help with NHS prescription charges and other health costs such as wigs.

    Wigs and fabric supports costs from 1 April 2012

    Surgical brassiere - £25.70

    Abdominal or spinal support - £38.80

    Stock modacrylic wig - £63.35

    Partial human hair wig - £167.85

    Full bespoke human hair wig - £245.40

    Hopefully my nurse will sort out a voucher for me!!!

    Thanks again


  • Hi MB,

    I am not sure but I think these charges apply to people that haven't got cancer, Ther are other reasons why people need a wig....a cancer patient is covered by different rules and you need to ask you Macmillan nurse or CNS about this, it is not means tested, they might have a different system at various hospitals though, and some hospitals are not as generous as others, I had a voucher for £150 and if I chose a wig that was more expensive then I could pay the difference, (which I did the first time) as it turned out the second time I lost my hair the wig I chose was cheaper... but I wasn't allowed to have two and pay the difference so I bought a second wig myself and paid full price.

    I am not on benefits either... so you qualify as a cancer patient...just don't go down the wrong route for applying...best wishes love x G x :-)

  • Thankyou Gwyn,

    I will definitely ask someone on the team! Is the CNS the nurse who i ring to ask about bits and pieces (the one who gave me her card on diagnosis)? Im hoping that my health authority isnt one of the less generous ones and my only concession is i get a £120 wig for £63!!

    Fingers crossed i get a freebie!


  • Please feel free to ask if you need more advice.

    (it is letting me reply now) see comment below xx

  • Hi MB,

    Yes CNS (cancer specialist nurse) is the one to speak to, I am surprised that they haven't already given you information on this, it is best to get a wig before you start to lose your hair, as you will get a better match with your own hair or at least have hair to compare it with, otherwise the wig supplier has no idea what you look like and try to pass anything off (believe me I've been there LOL) I still feel you'd be better going to someone with more choice ...you will also see the one you liked somewhere else... as they mostly all have the

    same stock...I feel the ones at the hospital supply a service to people that are staying there and they have different rules for inpatients as well.. but ask for a list of suppliers..I know of people that have regretted not having a choice and felt under pressure to just get anything because of the convenience best wishes x G x (I tried to reply under your comment but it kept coming up with an error Doh!

  • Hi Gwyn,

    Thankyou again. The oncology centre in the hospital arranged for the hairdresser appointment for me but no mention of a voucher. Then the hairdresser just said so do you know how it works? -you get a concessionary discounted price of £63 for wigs that would normally cost more than that and all the wigs would be that price (not the real hair). I will definitely phone the CNS on Monday! She has been very good with everything else i have asked her so she will know. And if i AM entitled to a voucher up to a certain value i will ask if i can take it somewhere other than the hospital hairdresser.


    MB x

  • Ooooh I do think it leaves it open to abuse the system, because you won't know how much the wig really costs and they could charge the hospital the full whack as well...I prefer the way my hospital does it...as they gave me a long list of registered wig suppliers with telephone numbers ...and then I could choose where or who I went to...last time the hairdresser I went to was very good and had a nice big private room with a big window letting the natural light in... so I could see what I was getting...the time before the first time I lost my hair....I went to a place local to me it was horrible hush wink wink sort of thing like as if I was in drag haha and a room like a cupboard with no windows I came out with an horrendous tarty wig (that I never wore) I wasn't ever going to make the same mistake again...I even paid for it myself £85 as I didn't want to use my voucher on something I hated... but didn't like to say (daft or what?) then I went somewhere else which was better and had a wig that cost £200 and I paid the difference...but still it was the wrong colour for me..the second time I am now older and wiser so got a wig I really love...but we are vulnerable anyway...love x G x :-)

  • Dear MB, I got a voucher for £120 from my hospital. Perhaps it depends on the NHS Trust you're in. Mine is in Wales. I didn't have to ask for the wig voucher. It was part of the pre-chemotherapy routine.

    Best of luck with yours. x Annie

  • Annie,

    Thanks i wonder whether xmas diagnosis etc contributed towards me not getting my voucher? Anyway i will ask the nurses on Monday.


  • I spoke to my onc's secretary (I lost the original one I had at my 1st chemo)

    I think it depends on your trust as to the amount you are covered for, you can pay the difference if it's more expensive. Real hair wigs are very expensive. The synthetic ones are lovely if you get the better quality

    Chris xx

  • Thanks Chris,

    Yeah the synthetic one i liked was lovely it looked very natural.I wouldnt dream of paying out for a real one when its only temporary. It doesnt seem like our authority gives a voucher up to a certain amount its just a case of paying a subsidised rate of £63 for all the synthetic ones? The wig i chose was £120 on an online wig shop but under other authority rules that would be free?! I will just have to hope the hairdresser got it wrong and on Monday when i speak to my nurse i will get a voucher to cover the cost.


  • Hi

    I got my wig free in September 2012, I didn't have to pay £63, in fact the wig I chose came within the allowance, which in 2011 was around the £120 cost I mentioned earlier. I understood that cancer patients got a wig allowance on prescription, which was not means tested. The rules should be the same throughout England, it shouldn't make any difference where you live, I live in the south. I do know that different suppliers have wildly different prices, as can the way they are manufactured, so that can be a contributing factor. Check with your CNS, she should know the rules!

    Good luck


  • Hi

    I got my wig free in September 2012, I didn't have to pay £63, in fact the wig I chose came within the allowance, which in 2011 was around the £120 cost I mentioned earlier. I understood that cancer patients got a wig allowance on prescription, which was not means tested. The rules should be the same throughout England, it shouldn't make any difference where you live, I live in the south. I do know that different suppliers have wildly different prices, as can the way they are manufactured, so that can be a contributing factor. Check with your CNS, she should know the rules!

    Good luck


  • Thankyou Chris i will ring her and hopefully get it sorted!

    MB x

  • Hi, I live in the south west and my voucher was from my CNS nurse at the very start

    of my chemo. My voucher was for around £200 and I got a fabulous quality wig. We

    have a drop in centre for cancer patients where a lady hairdresser fitted me with my

    wig.I was told if I didn't like any of her wigs, that I could use my voucher in Plymouth

    in two large department stores. You really shouldn't have to pay anything towards your

    wig so please check.

    Angie xx

  • At the hospital I attend in the North East there is no voucher scheme. There is an in house wig supplier which you must use, there is no alternative. 3 years ago when I first had chemotherapy , the scheme had just started and I was offered a choice of only 2 wigs both of which were totally inappropriate being straight bobs when I have naturally thick curly hair. I was so devastated my husband took me straight to a specialist supplier where it cost me nearly £250 for a decent one and was told I could have had it free if I had had a voucher. Recently, having had a recurrence, I am unfortunately in the same position again. When told I had to have a wig from the hospital I at first said thank you but I won't bother but was then persuaded to just have a look. The hairdresser was much nicer this time and had been told about my complaints and I was offered a choice of several wigs, although not of the standard I had bought. Eventually, feeling under pressure I agreed to take one but was not happy. I think it is dreadful at such a vulnerable time of your life you are made to feel this way and accept something you are not happy with. I'm sorry this doesn't really answer your question it is just me haveiag a rant about something I feel strongly about.

    Pamela x

  • Hi Pamela,

    How awful it.. seems as if the company has the monopoly and it does cut down the choices that you would have... at a time when perhaps you feel quilty feeling like that and maybe feel you should be grateful... but having made mistakes myself the first time round, you do get to be a bit wiser in choosing...I know at my hospital some people that are inpatients have had bad experiences choosing a wig because the company that visits didn't have much of a choice, and was even offhand (so I was told) I now feel so glad that I did get a choice...feel free to rant best wishes love x G x :-/ ;-)

  • I'm in the slough area ( Wexham Park hospital). A woman from "appliances" visited me in the chemo suite with a brochure. Of fairly cheap but ok wigs, of which I could get one free. Must be totally down to the area you are in. It was made very easy, though the very word put me off...


    Sue xxx

  • I must have been very lucky to have a very good free wig. The lady I saw at the centre

    was an ex hairdresser so had the experience and understanding we need at this

    vunerable time. When she opened up 2 large suitcases packed with every style and

    colour of wig you could imagine, I think I went into shock! it was just like christmas

    Love Angie xx

  • Was never offered either a wig or a voucher. I purchased a really nice wig from a specialist shop. It was hand stitched inside so wasn't rough or itchy at all. It cost £200, but worth every penny. As I have a Benenden Health policy, they paid for it for me so it never worried me, but the system does seem very unfair.

    Love Linda xx

  • What a huge range of experiences. Why, oh, why can't we all have the same standard of care? Is this mirrored for other types of cancer patients, I wonder. I'm sure it is. May be worth contacting MacM for some ideas - maybe they can give some tips

    Love Wendy xx

  • I was given a £120 pound voucher and then if I wanted a more expensive wig just paid the difference, which is what I did. My hairdresser then thinned it for me and trimmed the fringe for free but I think I was lucky reading about all the variations. My CNS said that cancer patients qualify for free wigs up to a certain allowance and inPortsmouth that allowance is £120. You will be entitled to something the variation is scandalous really.

    Good luck with it all

    Love Amanda xx

  • Ok the update is i have to pay £63 for my wig. I spoke to the chemo unit a few minutes ago and they do not give vouchers for wigs in our health authority. My chemo treatment is in Scarborough and my surgery will be Castle Hill, Hull. It just seems very unfair that some people get them free and others have to pay. I could have used that money for something special :-(

    MB x

  • Hi MB,

    How awful soooooo mean,sooooo unfair and sooooo sorry, :'( make sure you buy an expensive wig for £63 the NHS will have to pay the rest teehee, thanks for the update love x G x :-/ ;-)

  • Hi MB,

    I think I've found something that will cheer you up :-) I have just looked up "look good feel better" a charity that offers a free makeover for people suffering hair loss through chemo, and they have sessions in Castle Hill Hospital, "The Cancer Centre" they give you instruction on how to apply makeup especially useful for eyebrow and eyelash loss, and you come away with about £200 worth of cosmetics, you will need to book an appointment the tel number is

    014282 461142 they are really good to give you a nice boost I have now been twice (as I have lost my hair twice) give them a ring and let us know how you get on. Best wishes love

    x G x :-) :-D

  • P.S. I hope this will somehow make up for you disappointment... Sorry about the paragraph when there shouldn't be one (I blame my iPad !!) :-/ ;-)

  • OOH Thankyou Gwyn thats really kind of you!

    I feel a bit of a fraud at the moment as i havent actually started losing my hair yet! It is only 11 days since my first chemo session so its early days yet i just wanted to know what wigs were available and what they looked like BEFORE losing my hair. The wig i liked came up as £120 on one site when i looked but it was £150 on others so i guess retail price is more. Even at £63 its half price anyway and it did look nice. I will wait for the first few strands to start coming out then book an appointment for the makeover in Hull then! I never thought about eyelashes and eyebrow hair coming out until i came on this website and i think the thought of that is as bad as losing my hair as mascara is my must have makeup!

    Thanks again

    MB x

  • Hi MB,

    I wouldn't wait to ring them, as you are currently on treatment ( a requirement) and there is usually a long waiting list, you need to be well enough to go, I don't know what chemo you are on... I was on carb/ taxol and started losing my hair on the thirteenth day and it took a week for it all to be gone.

    Lots of love x G x :-)

  • Gwyn,

    yeah im on carbo/taxol and on day 10. Crikey that was quick in your case! Did you have any warning before that mine looks super healthy at the mo?!


  • Nope! no warning, I even thought I'd get away with it LOL

    x G x :-)

  • ok. . . . thats what i was thinking!!! ;-)

  • erm i meant day 11!


  • just looked at the looking good website and they have sessions in York as well which is an easier drive than across to Castle Hill so will try booking there.

    Thanks again

    MB x

  • York it is then....enjoy! xx G xx :-)

  • Hi MB

    I also lost my hair very quickly from around the 13th day. I actually thought I would

    get away with it but unfortunately not. On day 13 while washing my hair and

    showering I lost hugh handfulls of hair, even though I had my wig ready it was

    still a hugh shock. My hair was a long bob with side parting and my parting just

    got wider and wider so I cut my hair off and used my Lady Shaver to shave the

    lot off. Then I went down stairs to my hubby and cried my eyes out. My eyelashes

    and brows came out about a month later.

    Hope you can get fixed up with your wig quickly and make sure you have plenty

    of head gear for indoors as you wont want to be wearing your wig all day.

    I bought some cotton pull on hats for indoors and sleeping in from

    Annabandana.co.uk, don't know what I would have done without them.

    Best of luck with your chemo.

    Angie xx

  • Thankyou Angie,

    I will prepare myself!! And thanks for the tip re indoor hats too. I have lots of bits of fabric as i sew a fair bit so i will have lots to use as headscarfs but a soft beanie type hat would be good. I'll have a look at annabandana.The hairdresser was ordering two for me on Friday and said they usually come within a week so i'll see how things go.


  • To Add to Angie's advice I bought the cotton towelling turbans, the ones you get from the pound shop as they were so handy when you get out of the shower, just as a quick cover up.

    I also got silk running caps from Aldi's I looked like an athlete,haha (not)

    Other people at the hospital started losing their hair on the thirteenth day as well, so I think it is a pattern.love x G x :-)

  • Gwyn,

    I have always thought of 13 as a lucky number (i'm contrary like that!) so it will be interesting to see what happens in the next couple of days! good tip about the running hats my husband and son both have them but they are in constant use at the moment. I will look out for running gear when i comes in Aldi again. I think i have one of those pound shop turbans somewhere too but will get one next time im in town.

    Thanks again


  • How do u get the voucher in the NHS im in Scotland

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