NHS Supply Chain launches consultation with NHS staff on consistent uniform for England

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NHS Supply Chain is today launching a seven week consultation about the potential introduction of a standardised national healthcare uniform for NHS staff working in clinical roles in England.

The organisation is keen to hear the views of healthcare assistants, nurses, midwives and allied health professionals working in hospital and non-hospital settings across the country on whether a culturally sensitive, national approach to uniforms should be taken – and if so, should all NHS trusts adopt it.

NHS Supply Chain’s specialist hotel services buying function currently offers a uniform contract which provides a compliant framework from which NHS trusts specify the design, style and colours. This has led to significant variation of uniform between different NHS trusts, with many styles, colours, embroidery and rank identifiers which could potentially be reduced to one shared style for all staff groups differentiated by 15 to 20 colours.

Benefits could include:

  • Improved patient safety, supporting recommendations made in the 2013 Francis Inquiry
  • Greater recognition of staff by patients and the public
  • Improved view of professionalism in appearance by staff
  • Development of a high performing, ethical and sustainable supply chain, with a single NHS brand across the patient care pathway, providing consistency across the whole of the NHS in England
  • Offers the ability to plan for and react to increased uniform demand such as those experienced during the coronavirus pandemic.

The consultation document asks whether healthcare professionals working in hospital and non-hospital settings agree with a national uniform approach and if so, whether they think it should become mandatory, meaning all NHS organisations would be required to adopt it.

It also asks a set of questions about the garment style and features, to help identify the key aspects felt necessary for a uniform to be well designed and fit for purpose.

More details about the proposal are available here including the consultation which closes on 31 May 2021.