Page last updated at 11:25 GMT, Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Doctor's white coat to be banned

Medical staff wearing the new uniforms
It is hoped the new uniforms will increase patient confidence

The traditional doctor's white coat is to be dropped under a new NHS dress code unveiled by the Scottish Government.

NHS staff will also not be allowed to wear their uniform out of work and ties will be prohibited in a bid to stop the spread of infections.

Nurses will also be issued with a national uniform to make different types of staff more recognisable.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) in Scotland welcomed the move.

White coats have been worn by doctors for more than 100 years, although they have fallen out of favour in recent times.

Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said the dress code would give patients greater confidence in the quality of healthcare delivered.

Speaking at the Royal Infirmary in Edinburgh, she said: "I believe that having one uniform across the service which is readily identifiable should help both staff and patients to further ensure good communication and the delivery of care.

"The uniform and dress code will also help to minimise the risk of infection and cross-contamination, further contributing to our ongoing drive to tackle healthcare associated infections and boost public confidence."

Tunics in four shades of blue
Navy trousers for clinical staff
Shades of green for support staff
Short-sleeved shirts or blouses
Hair tied back
Ban on pens or scissors in breast pocket
The national uniform will include tunics in four shades of blue, with navy trousers for clinical staff. Support staff, such as porters and catering employees, will wear shades of green.

Staff will also be instructed to wear short-sleeved shirts or blouses, not to carry pens or scissors in their outside breast pockets, and to wear their hair tied back.

Norman Provan, RCN Scotland associate director of employee relations, said the new uniforms would help tackle hospital infections and save money.

He said: "Currently the NHS in Scotland purchases more than 150 types of uniforms in over 250 colours from a range of suppliers.

"Changing to a single, national supplier will free up significant funds, giving NHS Scotland the opportunity to invest in uniforms which are fully fit for purpose.

"The fabric of the new uniform will not only be more comfortable for staff but will also help combat healthcare associated infections such as MRSA and C.difficile."

Dr Kevin Woods, chief executive of NHSScotland, said the uniform would make staff more approachable.

He said: "The uniform and dress code will help to refresh the visibility of staff as they go about their work while presenting a professional corporate image."

The roll-out of a national uniform follows a public consultation.

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