British Medical Association welcomes new dress code guidelines for health professionals

The British Medical Association (BMA) has welcomed new dress code guidelines for health professionals, announced by health secretary Alan Johnson today.

New guidance on clothing will mean that hospitals will adopt a new “bare below the elbows” dress code – short sleeves, no wrist watch, no jewellery and no ties when “carrying out clinical activity”.

The traditional doctors’ white coat will also be banned.

Johnson said: “Today’s package of measures will give more responsibility to matrons and set guidelines on clothing that will help ensure thorough hand washing and prevent the spread of infections.”

Dr Vivienne Nathanson, head of BMA science and ethics, said: “The BMA is pleased that the government has taken on board many of the recommendations outlined in our report on reducing hospital-acquired infections, for example the call for doctors to stop wearing ties and white coats in hospitals and how it was preferable for clinicians to wear short-sleeves.”

However, Nathanson warned any new guidelines on dress code must be “practical, realistic, and sensitive to different religious groups”.

All acute Trusts are expected to go ‘bare below the elbows’ by January 2008.

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