Nurse starts ear-clearing business to help patients

Charlotte Stanley has starting her own clinic offering ear syringing and other services

Charlotte Stanley has starting her own clinic offering ear syringing and other services, after finding that she was unable to help her patients through her role as a nurse for the NHS. - Credit: Beckie Egan Photography

A district nurse has started her own business offering ear syringing in response to patient difficulties to access the service.

Charlotte Stanley said she had become frustrated at the "increasing privatisation" of services that used to be freely available and the high costs some patients were paying. 

In September 2020, it was confirmed by government minister Edward Agar that ear syringing was no longer a service GP surgeries were obliged to provide

“I’m a district nurse by trade,” explained Charlotte, 31. “And I had lots of patients coming to me, saying that the only places that they could get their ears syringed were really expensive.  

“I had one tell me that she paid £80 per ear, and she couldn't afford her shopping for the week. It absolutely broke my heart.” 

Charlotte Stanley first started the Wendy House Clinic in October last year

Charlotte Stanley first started the Wendy House Clinic in October last year, and is now keen to focus on her ear syringing services. - Credit: Beckie Egan Photography

Many aspects of modern life can contribute to a build up of earwax, says Charlotte, such as wearing headphones and airpods.

Many aspects of modern life can contribute to a build up of earwax, says Charlotte, such as wearing headphones and airpods. - Credit: Beckie Egan Photography

This led Charlotte to found The Wendy House Clinic, based in Woodbridge at the Bentwaters Business Park and offer the services at a lower price.

“The NHS is slowly privatising. There are more and more services GP surgeries are no longer offering, because they just don't get the funding for them,” said Charlotte. 

She says she is keen to break stereotypes around ear syringing. 

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“People think that it’s just for elderly people, but it’s not. We see people as young as four years old. 

“Wax accumulation is such a slow process that until it has near enough fully blocked your ears, you won't know that it's a problem. 

“The only way I can describe it to someone that hasn't had an issue, it’s as if your head has been submerged underwater, and it's full.” 

General advice from the primary care service is to seek help from a pharmacy about ear wax issues. 

Working a patient-pacing role during the pandemic was 'scary' admits Charlotte.

Working a patient-pacing role during the pandemic was 'scary' admits Charlotte. - Credit: Charlotte Stanley

Charlotte says anyone can suffer from a build up of earwax, not just the elderly.

Charlotte says anyone can suffer from a build up of earwax, and is keen to break the stereotype that this service is used only by the elderly. - Credit: Beckie Egan Photography

Charlotte, who still works part-time for the NHS, worked with patients throughout the pandemic, offers a course on ear syringing to registered healthcare workers.

She said she would encourage them to add this skill to their repertoire, for the benefit of their patients, but also themselves. 

Charlotte added: “They all work to the bone anyway, but the added pressures and risks of Covid puts life into perspective. It was so scary. 

“This is another branch that they can go down, and have a little bit of control over their own income and working hours.”