14th March 2023

Five-star salon experience for Ilkeston patients

Patients at Ilkeston Community Hospital have been enjoying the five-star salon experience with the return of ward hairdresser Val Hewitt.

Val, who has been absent from the wards since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, was thrilled to be back – and patients have been delighted to see her.

“It’s lovely to be here, it’s like coming home,” said Val. “I’ve missed the patients and the staff on the ward. There’s a lot more to it than just cutting hair, you build a rapport with everyone.”

Val has been hairdressing at Derbyshire hospitals for more than 35 years, looking after patients at Ripley, Ilkeston and Babington hospitals - and offering everything from a cut and blow-dry to perms and colours.  She now operates from a specially adapted salon in Ilkeston Hospital’s Heanor Ward, which was built 15 years ago with League of Friends funding.

Val cutting hair - Collage with patients


Patient Sylvia Croft said: “It makes you feel so much better. And everyone says how nice it looks after you’ve had your hair done.”

Physiotherapist John Shaw said the benefits reached beyond the aesthetic.

“Often when patients are in here they don’t feel like themselves – but then they get their hair done and it makes them want to get up and do something,” he said.

Discharge coordinator Eva-Marie Sealey said the patients loved visiting Val.

“It really boosts their mood and makes them feel more human,” she said.