Tomorrow will be the last day to get a hair cut for patients at the Regional Mental Health Centre in London and St. Thomas.
The hairdresser employed by the centre was among 20 workers let go last month due to fiscal restraint. Now staff are being asked to “assist patients by providing guidance to access hair salon services in the community.”
The Centre says “alternate arrangements are being finalized to address the need for patients who are not able to attend the community for this service.” Of course, they couldn’t say what those arrangements are.
For those who need assistance in getting their haircut, it will now require two staff to take them into the community, instead of one performing the service on site.
The e-mail to staff at the Centre prompted a flurry of replies, most questioning the wisdom of this decision.
Writes one doctor: “She offered direct patient care to those who have been unable to gain access to community services due to mental illness, physical illness or poverty. Getting one’s hair done by Brenda had greatly helped the self esteem and sense of self worth of many of my patients as well as others. Just because Brenda is not able to prescribe prozac or olanzapine does not make her contribution to clinical care any less significant.”
Another doctor stated on the e-mail chain: “Our patients are already “marginalized” and stigmatized by the society at large. By taking away what little they do have we are also promoting, aiding and abetting this STIGMA ourselves. How can we then tell our peers in the non-mental health settings and the society at large to dispel this stigma?”