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Your nurse’s uniform: is a national, standardised design a good idea?

NHS consults nurses in England about consistency of uniform design
NHS in England consults nurses on introduction of national, standardised design

NHS consults nurses in England about consistency of uniform design in bid to reduce confusion about who’s who is the multidisciplinary team

Nurses in England’s NHS are being asked whether they want standardised uniforms, and what style they would like to wear.

NHS Supply Chain is seeking views of staff working in hospital and community settings on a nationwide approach to uniforms. The consultation, which ends on 31 May, asks about garment style, to ensure uniforms are designed with the needs of nurses in mind.

Patient confusion about how to identify who is a nurse

Chief nursing officer for England Ruth May said: ‘Patients have told us that, for them, contact with several NHS professionals

NHS consults nurses in England about consistency of uniform design in bid to reduce confusion about who’s who is the multidisciplinary team

NHS in England consults nurses on introduction of national, standardised design

Nurses in England’s NHS are being asked whether they want standardised uniforms, and what style they would like to wear.

NHS Supply Chain is seeking views of staff working in hospital and community settings on a nationwide approach to uniforms. The consultation, which ends on 31 May, asks about garment style, to ensure uniforms are designed with the needs of nurses in mind.

Patient confusion about how to identify who is a nurse

Chief nursing officer for England Ruth May said: ‘Patients have told us that, for them, contact with several NHS professionals in a hospital and non-hospital setting can sometimes feel confusing, frequently due to not knowing who does which role.

‘We want patients and the public to be able to easily identify which nursing, midwifery or care professional is providing their care. Keeping patients and staff safe is fundamental to this consultation so please have your say.’

Currently the uniform contract allows each NHS trust to specify design but this has led to variations and many styles, colours and rank identifiers. This could be potentially reduced to one shared style differentiated by colour.

Nurses favour a national uniform, survey findings suggest

In January 2020, Nursing Standard conducted a reader survey about uniform standardisation, and of the 2,054 nurses who responded, 82% (1,684) said they favoured a common uniform.

However, 18% (369) were against the idea. One respondent said: ‘A national uniform would push advanced nurse practitioners and senior nurses into uniform and perpetuate the treatment of nurses as being inferior to medically trained staff, even where they are doing the same job.’

Potential benefits of standardisation may include greater recognition of staff by patients and the public, ability to plan and react to increased demand for uniforms and enhanced professional image.

NHS employers in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have had standardised uniforms for a decade.

Take part in the consultation


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