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Last Updated: Tuesday, 5 September 2006, 10:10 GMT 11:10 UK
Modesty gowns for female patients
Burqua-style hospital gown
The gowns have been designed to comply with religious rules
A gown designed for female Muslim patients who wish to preserve their modesty for religious reasons is being introduced to hospitals in Lancashire.

The 12 outfits - made in Yorkshire - cover the entire head, neck and body, leaving just a slot for the eyes.

The burqua-style gowns come with trousers, two styles of head-dress and elasticated cuffs to prevent women's arms from being revealed.

They will be available to patients at in Chorley and Preston from November.

The gowns were trialled at Royal Preston Hospital and proved so successful that a number of other NHS Trusts have also expressed an interest in offering them.

Preserving modesty

Karen Jacob, linen services manager at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals, came up with the idea.

She said: "I noticed a gap in the market and thought that it would be great if there was a gown that helped to preserve a patient's modesty."

The gowns are believed to be a world first - and TrusTECH, the NHS organisation which manages innovation for the North West NHS - has the patent.

It means the market for the gowns among the globe's billion-plus Muslims is immense.

Tim Meadows, customer service manager for Interweave, the West Yorkshire-based firm which makes the garments, believes the demand for the gowns could be huge.

"We think there is a large market out there," he says.

"We hope it will be a success. We have invested a lot of time and money."


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