Scotland bans white coats for doctors

December 17th, 2008 - 2:11 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Dec 17 (IANS) Doctors in Scotland will not wear white coats from next year as they have been banned to check infection in National Health Service (NHS) hospitals.The new drive for cleanliness will also not allow doctors to wear ties and wristwatches. They cannot carry pens and scissors in the front pockets of their shirts either. It remains unclear whether they will adopt scrubs as their uniform or simply use short-sleeved shirts instead.

The Scottish health secretary, Nicola Sturgeon, announced Tuesday that all NHS staff apart from doctors would also be given new uniforms next year to update the service’s “corporate image” and make uniforms cheaper and easier to buy.

Clinical staff such as nurses, physiotherapists and midwives will be allowed to choose a short-sleeved shirt or blouse in one of four shades of blue, while ancillary staff such as cleaners and porters will choose a shade of green.

The new dress code will also prohibit medical staff from leaving work in their uniforms, except where it is part of duties to work in the community or in emergencies, again to prevent cross-contamination.

Currently, the NHS in Scotland buys more than 150 types and styles of uniforms in more than 250 colours. By next autumn, the health service will have a single, national supplier of uniforms at a much cheaper cost.

The government in Britain has not formally banned white coats in the NHS but in September 2007 had recommended against their use while caring for patients. Many NHS trusts in Britain have since phased them out, along with banning long-sleeved shirts, jewellery and wrist watches.

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