New colour announced for national nurse uniform
Uniform colours have been assigned to healthcare professions and roles as England’s standardised NHS uniforms will make staff responsibilities easy to identify
The colour scheme for a national uniform for nurses in England has been revealed, with blue the chosen colour for nurses and nursing associates.
Standardised uniforms will make it easier for patients to identify staff in different NHS roles
The national uniform aims to standardise workwear in the health service to make it easier to distinguish between members of different healthcare teams in the NHS.
It also aims to make it easier for patients to understand different NHS roles and responsibilities.
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.
To address this, NHS Supply Chain (NHSSC), the procurement arm of the health service, set about introducing a national uniform in England. After engagement with NHS staff and stakeholders it has now revealed the colours chosen for each uniform. It is expected that a two-piece ‘smart scrub tunic’ will be the final design after initial consultations.
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
Pockets are expected to be a priority for redesigned uniform
The national uniform extends to midwives, pharmacists and allied health professionals. Each profession has a colour unique to them.
Following a workforce consultation in 2021, most (88%) of the more than 28,000 nursing respondents favoured a national uniform. About half of respondents preferred a ‘smart scrub’ two-piece uniform, where the tunic is more fitted than the standard scrub top and has added pockets.
Nurses have been clear that the uniforms must be fit for purpose and comfortable, with pockets high on the priority list.
Information from NHSSC suggests the smart scrub and dress will have two waist pockets and one breast pocket, while trousers and shorts will have two cargo-style pockets.
NHSSC uniform procurement lead Kevin Chidlow said: ‘I would like to thank everyone who has engaged with us for your enthusiasm and patience. Together we are building a shared identity we can all be proud of.’
NHSSC selected a supplier to make the garments in January this year and expects the uniform to be available in the NHS by summer 2024.
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