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New uniform aims to increase visibility of senior nurses in Scottish hospitals

Burgundy-coloured tunic will enhance accountability of senior staff.

A new uniform has been introduced for nurse directors, assistant deputy nurse directors and clinical nurse managers in Scotland, which will make it easier for patients and visitors to identify who is in charge on a ward.


The new uniform for senior nurses in Scotland

The new policy, which involves nurses at Band 8 and above wearing burgundy-coloured tunics, was ordered by Scottish health secretary Shona Robison. It was instigated in the wake of inquiries that raised concerns about the visibility of senior nurses in hospitals.

About 540 staff will be required to wear the tunic at all times when in clinical settings.

Poor communication

The launch of the uniform follows the publication of the Vale of Leven Hospital Inquiry Report into an outbreak of Clostridium difficile at the hospital between 2007 and 2008, which was a contributing factor in 34 deaths.

The inquiry, led by Lord Ranald MacLean, identified ‘a catalogue of failures in fundamental aspects’ of nursing care. Poor communication with relatives of those who died was highlighted.

Similar communication problems were identified by Sir Robert Francis during his investigation into care failures at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust.

Explanatory letter

Health boards in Scotland were informed of the new uniform policy in a letter from the Scottish Government’s director of health workforce and strategic change Shirley Rogers.

It states: 'The purpose of this [change] is to improve the visibility of senior nurse leadership, and increase public visibility and accountability of senior nursing leaders within the ward setting – which were key features identified within the Vale of Leven report and by Sir Robert Francis in his report into Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust.'

‘Visible leadership’

Scotland’s chief nursing officer Fiona McQueen said: ‘I am delighted that the clinical nurse manager uniform will now be an addition to the national uniform as it will provide front-line, visible leadership for patients, public and staff across NHS Scotland.

‘I would hope people feel confident to approach the senior nurse on duty to discuss any issues they may have about care and well-being.’


Further information


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