A midwife who challenged United Lincolnshire Hospital Trust’s uniform policy after she was pulled up over her dyed red hair has received the decision over her appeal.
Donna Crichton, 53, from Sleaford, was told her hair colour went against the new policy that was introduced in November 2017 – despite her hair being that colour for several years.
She was spoken to about her hair by the deputy chief nurse in June this year and was reportedly told she would face disciplinary proceedings – and if she still did not change the colour she would face dismissal.
Donna from Sleaford who has worked in the NHS for more than 30 years, including seven-and-a-half years in Lincolnshire, raised a staff grievance after seeking advice from the Royal College of Midwives.
Her argument was rejected and she lodged an appeal, which she says she has now also lost.
Donna, who is based at Lincoln County Hospital, but mostly works in Grantham, told the BBC she was “very disappointed” and would be “challenging” the trust’s decision.
She said: “They’re just unwilling to address their uniform policy is not fit for purpose, not in today’s society.”
“I feel extremely alienated and discriminated [against].”
Donna previously told the BBC: “One day I’m a professional and the next day I’m no longer a professional because of the colour of my hair.
“I was devastated, I could not breathe, I was having panic attacks.
“I’m depressed because I have been prevented from doing the job I absolutely adore.”
Another hospital employee told Lincolnshire Live that the uniform policy was “madness”.
ULHT said it “cannot comment on individual confidential cases”.
Director of HR Martin Rayson issued this statement about the uniform code: “Like many other organisations, the trust sets standards for dress and appearance which we expect our staff to comply with.
“Unfortunately, we cannot comment on specific cases involving employees who are going through internal processes in line with the trust’s policy and procedures.
“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.”
Meanwhile, trade unions say that the trust should be focused on supporting staff to overcome issues identified in its most recent Care Quality Commission report, including understaffing on wards, an over-reliance on agency staff and a looming £80m deficit.