A terminally ill retired nurse says she was left in tears after a beauty salon told her ‘we don’t treat cancer patients’.
Elspeth Gibson, 78, went to get her nails done to ‘cheer herself up’ after being told that the disease she had been battling for four years could no longer be treated.
But the former oncology nurse claims she was ‘made to feel like a leper’ when she revealed her condition to a beautician at Lavender and Stone Beauty Rooms in Bourne End, Buckinghamshire, who was manicuring her nails.
Elspeth Gibson, 78, said she felt ‘humiliated’ when she was refused a beauty treatment at a nail bar in Bourne End, Buckinghamshire
The grandmother claims she was told by staff at Lavender and Stone Beauty Rooms (pictured) that she couldn’t return to have her nails done again
The grandmother-of-three alleges a staff member at the salon said she couldn’t return to have her nails done due to her cancer.
Mrs Gibson, who spent years working with terminally ill patients, said the ordeal left her feeling ‘absolutely awful’ and she hasn’t received an apology from the salon.
The pensioner from Bourne End in Buckinghamshire said: ‘It made me feel humiliated, rejected, I felt like a leper.’
She said staff had not asked her if she was unwell before the treatment, adding they were unable to find her medical form with details of her health history or provide information relating to the alleged policy.
Company director Mr Bryan Nickless explained that the salon has a duty of care to clients with serious illnesses and they should provide a doctor’s note.
He said the health and beauty bar followed British Association of Beauty Therapy & Cosmetology guidelines.
Son Andrew (pictured with his mother) said she had been in ‘floods of tears’ and described the incident as shambolic, heartless and cruel’ on Facebook
Mr Nickless said: ‘The manager sat Elspeth down, held her hand and said, “we’re more than happy to treat you if you get a doctor’s note”.
‘We have a duty of care to our clients who have serious illnesses, not just cancer, to provide a doctor’s note, which Mrs Gibson has now done.’
He said that asking for a doctor’s note was to ensure that there was no risk to a cancer patient’s weakened immune system, adding a simple cut sustained during treatment could present a greater threat to somebody undergoing treatment.
Mrs Gibson’s doctor sent a letter sent to the beauty salon saying: ‘Mrs Gibson came to see me today very upset as I understand you are not willing to treat this lovely lady as apparently you do not treat cancer patients.’
It described her treatment as ‘extremely upsetting’ and said there was ‘absolutely no reason why she cannot have her nails treated’.
Mrs Gibson’s son Andrew, 50, said: ‘It’s knocked my mother for six, the way she has been treated.
‘I had three days of her in floods of tears about this. She was saying, “I can’t believe it”.’
Mrs Gibson (left and right with her children) said staff couldn’t provide information relating to the alleged policy. Lavender and Stone has strongly refuted the claims saying their staff have a ‘professional and caring’ approach to customers
Sales and marketing manager Mr Gibson described his mother’s treatment at the salon on September 20 as ‘shambolic, heartless and cruel’ in a Facebook post, which has since been shared more than 1,500 times.
In the post, he wrote: ‘Halfway through the treatment she told the girl that this was a great tonic as she had had bad news in regards to her cancer which she has fought bravely for nearly four years now.
‘A nail painting later the girl announced that is was their policy not to treat cancer patients, they would finish her nails and would not be able to paint them again, shocking and outrageous.’
Mr Gibson, from Slough, Berkshire, also said that they had not been contacted by the company.
Mrs Gibson’s doctor sent a letter to the salon explaining there was ‘absolutely no reason why she cannot have her nails treated’
In a Facebook post, Lavender and Stone said it was investigating ‘how its policy is communicated’, but insisted staff had a ‘professional and caring’ approach to customers.
Company director Bryan Nickless said: ‘We strongly refute Mrs Gibson’s claim she was treated like a leper.’
He added it was ‘totally untrue’ that Mrs Gibson had been told by a staff member that they didn’t treat cancer patients, or that she could not return for future manicures.
Mr Nickless said: ‘The manager sat Elspeth down, held her hand and said, ‘we’re more than happy to treat you if you get a doctor’s note’.
‘We have a duty of care to our clients who have serious illnesses, not just cancer, to provide a doctor’s note, which Mrs Gibson has now done.
‘We would be more than happy for Mrs Gibson to come to the salon for treatment.’
He added that it was not true that the salon refuses to treat cancer patients, arguing that Mrs Gibson’s decision to get a note as advised proved they were willing to do so.
Mr Nickless said a letter had been sent to Mrs Gibson regarding the dispute.