New uniforms for Scotland

Tuesday, 06 January, 2009

A new national uniform and a dress code are being introduced for NHS staff in Scotland, to promote a professional corporate image and minimise the risk of infection.

Unveiling both the uniform and dress code, Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said the move would give patients greater confidence in the quality of healthcare delivered, as well as making staff more easily identifiable to patients.

Clinical staff will wear tunics in one of four shades of blue with navy trousers. Support staff such as porters and domestic and catering employees will wear tunics in one of two shades of green, with navy trousers.

The dress code applies to all staff, regardless of whether or not they are required to wear uniforms.

The code also makes clear that - as a general rule - staff should not wear uniform out of work. Guidance on that issue will be further updated later this year, when ongoing work to audit changing and laundry facilities in hospitals has been completed.

All NHS staff who currently wear a uniform - from nurses to catering staff to allied health professionals such as physiotherapists - will be required to wear the new uniform. Staff who do not currently wear a uniform will not be required to do so. Security staff will wear black trousers and a white shirt, and a stab vest where local policy dictates. The Scottish Government is working with partners to develop a suitable uniform for administrative and clerical staff.

The uniform is available in a wide range of sizes and lengths, including maternity sizes. The tunics do not have breast pockets and all have short sleeves. Samples of the new designs have been tested for wearability and use by many staff across the NHS undertaking different roles.

A public consultation on the new uniform was undertaken by the Scottish Government in 2008 and staff were consulted. A total of 647 responses were received, including 20 from organisations including professional bodies, unions and NHS Boards.

NHS National Services Scotland is managing the procurement process on behalf of NHS Scotland. The uniform will be phased in from autumn 2009.

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