Midwife's red hair falls foul of hospital rules

Donna Crichton
Image caption Donna Crichton said the colour of her hair did not stop her doing a professional job

A long-serving midwife said she has been stopped from working because of the colour of her hair.

Donna Crichton, from Sleaford, said she was told her bright red hair was not acceptable under United Lincolnshire Hospital Trust's (ULHT) uniform policy.

She spoke out after union criticism of the trust and said the decision had stopped her doing her job since June.

ULHT would not comment on active cases but said it expected staff to comply with its dress and appearance rules.

'Taking a stand'

Ms Crichton said she first dyed her hair red in 2004 and it was not an issue when she was taken on by the trust more than seven years ago.

"Everyone knows me as the midwife with red hair," she added.

She said she was only notified of action and sent home at the end of June after a manager took issue with her hair at a training event.

The action came months after the trust updated its uniform policy in October 2017.

"I am embarrassed that the colour of my hair and me taking a stand has stopped me working when there are more important issues in this world," she said.

"I am devastated because I've been prevented from doing the job I absolutely adore."

Image caption Extract from uniform policy

She spoke out after the Unite union passed a motion of no confidence in ULHT on Monday, claiming bosses were more worried about hair colour and socks than understaffing.

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Her treatment has also met with criticism on social media.

According to one person, trust managers were "unfit to run a bath".

Lincoln's former MP Karl McCartney also criticised the trust.

Others labelled them dinosaurs.

Martin Rayson, director of Human Resources at the trust, said: "Like many other organisations, the trust sets standards for dress and appearance which we expect our staff to comply with.

"We encourage any member of staff with a query around the dress code and uniform policy to speak with their manager or the HR team to address any concerns."

David Kirwan, operational manager for the Royal College of Nursing, said the College was "incredulous that a trust which has over 250 vacancies" saw this as a priority.

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