Juniors told to smarten up

TRAINEE doctors who dress too casually for work could be causing anxiety among older patients on some NHS wards, it has been reported.

The views emerged following an inspection at Colchester General University Hospital Trust, according to the Daily Telegraph. It reported that some of the younger medics at Colchester General and Essex County hospitals were wearing inappropriate clothes such as ripped jeans.

Under the British Medical Association’s guidelines on dress code doctors are allowed to wear what they like provided it will inspire confidence among the patients under their care. While doctors do not have to wear a uniform, they are expected to cover tattoos, wear little jewellery and tie their hair back.

At the hospitals inspected, it was reported that some doctors were seen outside the hospital in scrubs they had been wearing on the ward, which could increase the risk of cross infection. The inspection report has been handed to hospital bosses who will reportedly decide whether to act on the findings.

Andy Patrick, chairman of the Patient and Environment Action Team, told the Telegraph: “Some of the doctors are quite young and they sometimes wear jeans with holes and that type of thing. When people come to hospital they expect standards to be good from the moment they arrive.”

But Andrew Collier, vice chairman of the junior doctors committee said juniors had no need to smarten up and believes a uniform could negatively affect the doctor-patient relationship.

He added: “Many of my colleagues worry patients will see a doctor in uniform as just another corporate NHS body, rather than as the authoritative leader of the delivery of their care.”