Page last updated at 17:34 GMT, Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Ambulance crews face 'silly sock' discipline

Novelty sock
The Trust says the sock issue is a 'small element' of the dress code policy

Novelty sock lovers who work for the North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) could face disciplinary action if they continue to wear them on the job.

Health chiefs have decided socks with images of cartoon characters, or days of the week are "inappropriate" and "unprofessional".

The policy, announced at a recent trust board meeting, has angered paramedics who find it "overbearing" and "silly".

An NWAS spokeswoman said it was only a small part of the overall dress code.

Staff must also ensure their green shirt is tucked in at all times, footwear must be issued by the trust and be fully polished and religious headwear should be "clean and laundered", the guidelines continue.

We are not against a uniform but this is ridiculous
Jon Fox from APAP

Jon Fox, of the Association of Professional Ambulance Personnel (APAP), said the policy had "gone that one step too far".

"I can hardly imagine a patient being really annoyed if they see us wearing novelty socks," he said.

"It's their treatment and safety that matters. We are not against a uniform but this is ridiculous."

NWAS director of organisational development, Jon Lenney said: "The new dress code policy, approved by the Trust Board this month, sets out what is and what is not regarded as appropriate.

"The item which refers to which socks crews may wear is a very small element in a substantial document which covers more important issues such as infection control and health and safety.

"We would expect our staff to wear uniforms provided and do not feel that 'novelty' socks with slogans and images are appropriate for presenting a professional image to patients and members of the public."

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