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Hospital dress code to limit infection

17 Sep 2007

Hospital dress code to limit infection Health secretary Alan Johnson has announced guidelines for a new dress code policy for hospitals to reduce the spread of bugs such as MRSA and clostridium difficile.

It has been reported that hospital staff will have to wear sleeves that finish above the elbows as it is thought that germs could be spread on the cuffs of the traditional white coats.

There is the suggestion that, as a result, hand-washing is not an adequate preventative measure to ensure that diseases are not spread.

These new regulations will affect graduate medics starting in new hospital posts and will be applied on a national scale.

Dr Vivienne Nathanson, head of British Medical Association (BMA) science and ethics, expressed pleasure that the government had heeded recommendations set out by the BMA regarding reducing hospital infections.

She added: "It is very important to emphasis, however, that clean hands, bare elbows and short-sleeves are only one aspect of preventing and controlling infection."

Other regulations include a ban on watches, jewellery and ties.

Dr Nathanson further emphasised the necessity of any new dress code regulations to be "practical, realistic, and sensitive to different religious groups".

Current student medics should not be made to worry that their religious requirements may make hospital job difficult for them in the future.

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