In the 1950s, Eleanor Macdonald, a director at the cosmetic firm J&E Atkinson, believed that performing beauty treatments on women in hospital would promote their recovery.
Dr George Somerville, medical superintendent of Goodmayes Hospital in Essex, shared her point of view. Eleanor’s staff began to give treatments at Goodmayes in 1957. The scheme was successful and other hospitals requested the same service. Atkinson’s gave free training to selected nurses. However, hospitals became concerned that nurses were spending too much time on the scheme and looked for volunteers to help.
The Department of Health encouraged the Red Cross to set up a beauty care service (which has developed into the therapeutic care service) in 1959. This photo gallery explores how it’s changed over the years.
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Find out more about the therapeutic care service
Become a therapeutic care volunteer