Practice dress code

WHEN it comes to employees’ clothing and appearance, most practice managers would agree that they should project a professional image which will inspire confidence and trust from patients, visitors, clients and colleagues.

Ideally, the practice would recognise diversity of cultures, religions and beliefs and take a sensitive and sensible approach to such matters. An additional consideration for those working in patient care is infection control, so managers should ensure that employees’ clothing/uniforms comply with health and safety and infection prevention and control requirements. This could involve, for example, encouraging short-sleeved shirts/blouses and tying back long hair.

It is advisable to make the practice dress code mandatory and applicable to all practice staff, including agency workers and contractors. All staff are responsible for maintaining high standards of personal presentation at all times. If at any time uniforms become worn or damaged or need replacing, the individual should bring this to the attention of their line manager. All items of uniform remain the property of the practice and should be returned upon termination of employment.

Below are examples of some other common elements that can be included in a dress code policy, but practices should of course adapt any policy as appropriate:

Badges

Identity, lanyards and professional badges should be worn at all times.

Headwear

Turbans and kippots, veils (Christian or nikab) and headscarves (hijabs and jilbabs) are supported on religious grounds. The latter should be shoulder length, scarves must not drape freely.

Tattoos and piercings

Tattoos should be discreetly concealed where possible and covered completely if they are deemed to be offensive.

Jewellery and piercings

Staff should ensure that jewellery does not pose a risk to themselves or others and piercings should be discreet. The practice can ask for piercings to be removed for the duration of the employee's shift.

Hygiene

It is the employee's responsibility to launder their uniform regularly and a clean uniform should be worn every day. Ensure that uniforms are free from smells associated with cigarettes and vapes.

Footwear

Footwear must be navy or black and low heeled, closed toe and heel. Slip on, lace up and Velcro styles are all acceptable. Trainers must be navy or black with no visible branding.

Compliance

Spot checks of dress code and uniform may be taken during the year. Non-compliance with this policy will be managed through the practice’s disciplinary procedures.

We have drafted a sample dress code that practices can adapt to suit their requirements. Simply email advice@mddus.com to get your copy