Ooh Matron, do cover up! Naughty nurses ordered not to show too much cleavage as bosses claim 'patients complain'
Last updated at 4:19 PM on 15th June 2011
Nurses and hospital staff have been banned by bosses from wearing racy outfits to work following a series of complaints from patients.
A strict new uniform policy for all staff has been issued by East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust which is threatening disciplinary action against doctors, nurses and non-clinical workers who wear clothes exposing their 'midriff' or 'excessive cleavage'.
The guidelines also ban the Trust's 5,000 clinical and non-uniform staff from wearing shorts, mini-skirts, denim or leggings while at work.
Complaints: The six-page uniform policy was agreed about following grievances from patients
Outdated: The sexy image of nurses, personified by Barbara Windsor, is long gone
The six-page uniform policy was agreed in March and aims to establish a 'professional and consistent' image which reflects the 'Trust's values'.
It reads: 'Staff will not dress in ways that undermines the spirit of this policy and clothing that exposes the midriff, torso or excessive cleavage, along with wearing denim, shorts, leggings and mini-skirts, are not acceptable.'
The policy was agreed by trade unions and staff councils following a series of complaints from patients, according to Hannah Middleton, Unison branch secretary for the Trust.
She said: 'We needed a policy that covered all staff whether they were in the clinical side or non-uniform staff.
'There had been complaints from patients about members of staff baring their midriff and problems with health and safety as some had been wearing sandals.
'There has always been a policy but it has now been toughened up.'
Staff have also been warned that the Trust will carry out 'audits' of the uniform policy in every ward, department and service area.
What a Carry On: Sexy uniforms like the ones worn in the British comedies, are a thing of the past
Guidelines: The Queen Elizabeth II Hospital is one of the hospitals run by East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust, which is enforcing the policy
Anyone caught breaking the uniform policy, which applies to nurses, doctors and non-clinical staff, will face disciplinary action.
The policy also bans the wearing of hair ribbons, combs and sharp decorative slides and orders beards and moustaches to be 'clean and neatly trimmed'.
Any offensive tattoos should be covered up and fingernails must be clean and short.
On the way out: Miniskirts have also been given the heave-ho in the guidelines
Hair must be 'clean and neat' and veils and headscarves should be tucked into staff uniforms.
Staff are also urged to take care of their own personal hygiene and consider the 'lingering affects' of cigarette smoke on their breath and clothing.
The new guidelines adhere to Sex Discrimination Act 1999, Race Relations Act 1976, Human Rights Act 1999 and Employment Equality Regulations 2003.
A spokesman for North Hertfordshire NHS Trust said: 'The policy's aim is to ensure that all staff within the Trust, both those in uniform and those not, present a professional image at all times that gives the public confidence in the services being provided.
'As has been the case for some time the dress codes' aim is to establish a professional and consistent image that reflects the Trust's values.
'For many groups of staff, for example nurses, midwives, radiographers and pharmacists, this is achieved through wearing a uniform.
'For non-uniformed staff, however, it is important they too dress in a way that is both practical and professional in appearance.'
East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust employs more than 5,000 clinical and non-clinical staff at Lister Hospital, Stevenage, Queen Elizabeth II Hospital, Welwyn Garden City, Hertford County Hospital, Hertford, and Mount Vernon Cancer Centre, in Northwood.
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