At Alopecia UK, we regularly hear about the challenges, delays and confusion that patients experience when trying to access wigs on NHS prescription. We also hear from dermatology departments about what they are trying to achieve for patients - some offering a greater level of provision than others. We know that some patients are able to access wigs via NHS prescription whilst others are not.

We know that all four nations of the UK have different policies and practices, as do different hospital Trusts within those four nations. Our report published in 2017 which explored NHS England’s provision of wigs to alopecia patients reflected the different practices happening within England. Disparity in wig provision can be challenging for everyone, including those with alopecia, clinicians, NHS Trusts and Alopecia UK. It is not uncommon to hear of someone with alopecia moving to a new county and finding their wig provision has completely changed. One person may be fortunate to find they are offered better wig provision in their new area whereas another might find their access to NHS wig provision is removed entirely.

What are we doing to improve NHS wig provision?

We are pleased to share that NHS England & NHS Improvement are working with Alopecia UK to sponsor, develop and support a Charter for Best Practice for Wig Provision. As part of this work, we will be engaging with various clinical groups within both Primary and Secondary Care. We will also ensure there the patient voice is heard and will seek to include other charities supporting patients with dermatological hair loss.  

There is still a way to go before the Charter for Best Practice for Wig Provision is published.  We are currently developing a clinical evidence paper to support the case for the need for NHS wig provision; a wig after all is a necessary orthotic to help patients live their lives with confidence. For many years, Alopecia UK has advocated for wigs to be viewed as a medical treatment option for alopecia as per guidelines set out by the British Association of Dermatologists.

We will keep you informed of our progress with this work. Whilst we cannot get involved in individual challenges with wig prescriptions, be assured your feedback is collated and we are fighting for wig provision to be maintained and improved.

Alopecia UK is here to support patients with alopecia and we will always try to do our best to act as the patient voice. Thank you to NHS England and NHS Improvement for supporting us with this valuable piece of work.

Update December 2021

We have now held a number of focus groups to discuss the draft charter and hope to be able to launch the charter in Spring 2022.

Please consider a donation to Alopecia UK today to help to support our work on this project and many other pieces of work around our aims of Support, Awareness and Research. 

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