“Ridiculous” shout chorus of red head midwife supporters

People have rallied in their hundreds with messages of support for a Lincolnshire midwife who risks losing her job ‘over the colour of her hair’.

As previously reported, Donna Crichton, who has over 30 years’ experience working in the NHS, works at the hospitals in Lincoln and Grantham.

She had red hair when she was first employed by ULHT in February 2011, claiming it had never been an issue previously. Even after the uniform policy was updated in November 2017 nothing was flagged up to her about it.

She was off work for health reasons between February to May 2018, but nothing was mentioned upon her return…until towards the end of June when she was spoken to by a deputy chief nurse.

She said the situation has caused her a lot of stress and shattered her confidence. She told The Lincolnite she feels, with midwives in short supply, clinical ability, not hair colour, should come first.

Over 700 people aired their views on The Lincolnite’s story with many on Donna’s side.

At the time of writing, United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust, has refused to comment on the ongoing dispute. This also means the trust had not made any attempt to confirm the reason for Donna’s suspension.

One person, who did not wish to leave a name, also called reporters to say: “I was at Pilgrim Hospital yesterday and there was a male consultant on shift with purple coloured hair.

“I thought this was interesting as he was clearly still working. I didn’t ask him about it or how long it had been that colour.”

Donna’s hair is currently a lilac colour.

Within ULHT’s Dress Code and Uniform Policy it states: “Where staff have public facing roles (this includes patients, relatives, stakeholder and members of the general public), hair colour should reflect the trust’s requirement for professionalism by the member of staff.”

Donna questions the policy saying at no point does it indicate what it means by colour.

Brilliant at her job

People who have dealt with Donna directly were full of praise for how she carries out her job, including the following comments:

Caralyn Morton – “This midwife dealt with me this year when I was pregnant. She gave me some news that was hard to hear and was caring, professional and answered my questions.

“The colour of her hair did not affect her ability to do her job. “

Nigel Gresham – “Actually, having looked closer, we had the pleasure of being seen by Donna at Grantham, with what could have been a difficult pregnancy and she was supportive, friendly, have great advice and a credit to her profession.”

Rachel Holborn – “My daughter had this amazing lady through both happy and devastating times, oh my God who cares what she looks like.”

‘Ridiculous’ situation

Many have branded a the situation ‘ridiculous’ with the general consensus from The Lincolnite commenters appearing to be that clinical ability should be what matters most.

Bill Bartlett – “People obviously feel strongly about this issue. The trust can choose to disregard items in the news, but they may have to take more notice if you would like to repeat the very positive feedback given about this individual in another forum. Please go to https://www.careopinion.org.uk/.”

Judy Bland – “When I was younger and well up in the nursing profession I coloured my hair to suit different dresses. I have been cornflour blue, copper and even alight shade of green. No one ever said anything to me. I did my work and no one cared about anything else. What a farce.”

Cindy Davis – “Typical response from a disorganised weak panic-stricken management. In special measures so what do they do? Target ridiculous so called easy fixes rather than tackling the staffing and logistical problems plaguing the trust.”

Sarah Cooper – “Absolutely ridiculous situation! Hair colour doesn’t matter for one second. The only important thing is how she does her job. Why don’t her colleagues dye thier hair bright colours to support her & go on shift en masse & see what happens?!”

Claire Brannen – “I didn’t know that coloured hair dye has magical ingredients in it that makes you forget everything you have learned at medical school and makes you incapable of doing your job to a satisfactory level.”

Jane Johnson – “No way would I have a problem. I’ve seen police, paramedics and customs officers with big tattoos, one of my vets has blue hair, to my mind it makes them approachable, human. Long live individuality.”

Natalie Rouse – “Ridiculous, the very least of your worries when having a baby is the midwife’s hair colour. Or any other hospital treatment. It doesn’t affect her capability to do her job, so it shouldn’t matter at all. If anything it’s a talking point for maybe people who are nervous, a little distraction. World gone mad again!”

Mikaela Wood – “With the shortage of midwives and nurses in Lincolnshire, the constant ongoing recruitment problems ULHT have in attracting quality nursing staff have they gone completely bonkers! I don’t know this lovely lady but I am sure she is a top class professional. When I did my training back in the 1980s I had a skin head haircut albeit just my boring brown colour and my friend had an eyebrow piercing. We were professional and caring and compassionate just like I am sure this lady is. ULHT have a swift rethink, this type of thing kills morale of your already over stretched staff.”

With the original story getting such a big reaction The Lincolnite approached ULHT again on Wednesday to see if it wanted to expand further on its statement, but the trust declined.