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NHS proposing standardised national uniforms

Posted on April 2021 By Jamie Southwell

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​Healthcare professionals throughout England are being asked about the proposal of “easily” identifiable NHS uniforms.

NHS Supply Chain are inviting NHS staff in clinical roles across the country to take part in a seven-week consultation to gather the opinion on standardised national healthcare uniforms.

Following Wales and Scotland who introduced a national nursing uniform in 2010.

Our current system in place allows NHS Trusts to specify the design, colour, and style of the uniforms for their healthcare staff through a contract with NHS Supply Chain. Resulting in difficulty for patients differentiating between staff at different NHS Trusts.

The consultation will collect the views of nurses, midwives, healthcare assistants, and allied health professionals on whether they want the introduction of the national uniforms to go forward and if so, how the design should appear.

​NHS Cheif Nursing Officer of England, Ruth May, pictured above

Chief Nursing Officer, Ruth May, spoke about the confusion amongst patients saying “Patients have told us that, for them, contact with several NHS professionals in a hospital setting can sometimes feel confusing, frequently due to not knowing who does which role.

“We want patients and the public to be able to easily identify which nursing, midwifery or care professional is providing their care. Keeping patients and staff safe is fundamental to this consultation so please have your say.”

With the introduction of the new potential standardised national uniforms for healthcare professionals, there would be one shared style for all staff groups, separated by 15 to 20 colours.

Chief Allied Health Professions Officer, Suzanne Rastrick, added “At this time of transformation and recovery, there is a huge opportunity to truly demonstrate the key contribution to care that allied health professionals make, alongside nursing and midwifery colleagues.

“We believe that a national, culturally sensitive uniform could potentially bring some major benefits for patients, for staff and for the public...but your voices are critical to informing this so I urge you to complete the consultation document so your views are heard.”

The initial launch for the project was in 2019 but postponed till 2021 due to the pandemic, in which a survey conducted among the public revealed 79% of patients agreed a strongly defined uniform helps to identify key workers.

It also revealed 88% of patients feel the same uniforms should be worn nationally, with 55% claiming to be unable to easily identify senior members of staff from uniforms.

If you are an NHS clinical staff such as a nurse, midwife, healthcare assistant, or allied health professional looking to take part, you can visit the NHS Supply Chain website here: