A first look at the new national nurses’ uniform
The smart scrub tunic, in an array of colours with one for nurses and others for different healthcare professionals, will be available next summer
The colours have been announced and the garments have been made – we can now reveal what the national uniform for nurses in England will look like.
The uniforms went on display at RCNi’s Nursing Live event in Liverpool this month and proved a popular attraction among nurses at the event.
The garments, designed in a two-piece ‘smart scrub tunic’, come in an array of colours that aim to distinguish between members of different healthcare teams in the NHS. Another aim is to make it easier for patients to understand different NHS roles and responsibilities.
However, when the colours were first announced the uniform received a backlash from nurses who said it failed to distinguish between registered nurses or different bands.
The apparel that proclaims the nurse
Here’s a first glimpse at what the uniforms look like.
Nurses in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have been wearing standardised uniforms for several years, but employers in England have retained local discretion, resulting in diverse colour coding, styles, textiles and branding.
Nurses have been clear that the uniforms must be fit for purpose and comfortable, with pockets high on the priority list.
The national uniform extends to midwives, pharmacists and allied health professionals. Each profession has a colour unique to them – the colour chosen for nurses is blue with a navy trim.
Quick guide to a colour-coded nursing workforce
- Nurses: hospital blue with a navy trim
- Nursing associates: sky blue with a sky-blue trim
- Nursing practitioners: royal blue with a navy trim
- Matron: purple with a navy trim
- Healthcare assistants or support workers: lilac with a navy trim
- Head of department: black with a red trim
NHS Supply Chain (NHSSC), the procurement arm of the health service, selected a supplier to make the garments in January this year and expects the uniform to be available in the NHS by summer 2024. However, it could take a number of years to roll out the uniform across the NHS due to individual trusts having their own uniform contracts in place.
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