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Rockyview Hospital hair salon set to be closed by Alberta Health Services

The imminent closure of a hair salon located at a Calgary hospital is causing a lot of angst for its owner and the clients who use it.

Ben Kanbour took over A Cut Above Beauty Salon and Hair Studio in March 2011. He told Global News it had been operating “successfully” inside the Rockyview General Hospital for more than 50 years, so he was surprised to find out Alberta Health Services (AHS) wanted to close it.

“They’re not going to renew my lease,” he said. “I’m supposed to be gone by June 30th.”

Kanbour said not only is this sad for him, but also for many of his clients — many of them, patients at the hospital.

“They come in. They socialize. They feel normal, you know.”

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Global Calgary

Evelyn Fagin has gone to the salon a few times over the past couple of years. The first time, she said, was during a long stay in the emergency room.

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“This all became a rat’s nest,” she told Global News pointing to her hair. “I can’t say enough about that man (Kanbour). He went above and beyond.”

She has reached out to AHS to express her displeasure at the closure, adding the salon plays an important role in the overall health of many.

“It makes you feel better. Makes you feel like a human again. Not just a number. Not just a patient,” she said.

“Why would you deny someone human dignity?”

Evelyn Fagin outraged over salon closure. Global Calgary

AHS response

An Alberta Health Servicesspokesperson told Global News the hair salon is a private business that leases space inside the hospital.

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The lease was set to expire December 2023, but AHS extended it to June 30, 2024, to “support the owner in finding a new space.”

AHS added in a statement “The salon is outside the purview of AHS’ role and responsibility to provide health-care services to Albertans, particularly in a hospital setting. Most clientele come from the community, not the hospital.”

 “AHS is able to better utilize that space for health care needs.”

Friends of Medicare blames lack of planning

Chris Gallaway, with the Friends of Medicare, blamed the closure of the salon on lack of planning by AHS.

“It’s part of this infrastructure deficit,” he said. “They’re (AHS) trying to find space wherever they can because we haven’t done the long-term planning. We’re already hundreds of beds short in Calgary, in Edmonton and across the province. “

Gallaway said more and more of these types of services are going to get “pushed out” and that’s a shame because he said they’re “crucial.”

“These services are part of care,” he pointed out. “Whether it’s food, whether it’s hair, whether it’s other pieces of people’s lives — having those onsite is so important for people who are there trying to heal.”

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“It’s not just about the direct health care, the medical interventions that people receive. It’s about caring for the human.”

Kanbour hopes people care enough to contact AHS and their MLA to express their disappointment about the closure.

He remains hopeful the salon will remain open to serve patients and the community beyond the end of the month.

“When I first started, people were kissing my hands and hugging me,” he said.

“It just touched my heart in so many different ways.”

AHS told Global News the Rockyview salon is believed to be the only such business inside a major Alberta hospital.

&© 2024 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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