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Salisbury becomes latest to adopt colour-coded nursing scrubs


New coloured scrub uniforms are being introduced at Salisbury District Hospital in a bid to help patients more easily identify the role and seniority of healthcare staff.

Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust said the move followed feedback and an “extensive review” including staff and patient consultation.

“Our staff told us they were unhappy with the quality and look of the old uniforms”

Fiona Hyett

It has moved from blue scrubs to new, better quality scrubs, which come in five different colours that relate to roles and responsibilities.

The most senior nurses will wear silver, while other nursing staff will wear colours more traditionally associated with the profession – namely navy blue, light blue and green.

The full colour range chosen by Salisbury is as follows:

  • Navy blue – senior ward leaders/sisters
  • Light blue – ward staff nurses/assistant practitioners
  • Silver – specialist nurses/directorate senior nurses
  • Green – nursing assistants and phlebotomists
  • Maroon – therapists, radiographers

Fiona Hyett, the trust’s deputy director of nursing said: “In Salisbury we regularly gather views from our patients and it became clear that some felt that the one-colour blue scrub uniform made it difficult for them to distinguish between different levels of staff.

“Our staff also told us that they were unhappy with the quality and look of these uniforms,” she added. “These scrubs are lightweight and comfortable to wear and are also better quality which will improve appearances.”

Such moves are becoming increasingly popular among trusts, as reported in recent years by Nursing Times.

In August last year North Bristol NHS Trust announced that scrubs were being introduced for nurses as part of a programme to standardise staff uniforms. The scrubs are colour-coded according to band.

Meanwhile, since March, senior nurses at the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust have been wearing new colour-coded dresses and tunics to indicate their “position of leadership”.


Readers' comments (5)

  • I read with interest the many recent reports about nursing uniforms which allow for the easy identification of different staff groups.
    Introduced in 2010 within the NHS in Wales we have an all Wales nursing uniform similar to that described in the article above. This means where ever a patient or relative visits a hospital across the country they can easily differentiate between who they are speaking to.

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  • scruffy and unprofessional is all that one can expect in UK hospitals and often attitudes to match. time everybody focused on their patients and wore and were treated the same!

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  • It would be great to have a standard nationwide colour code for health service uniforms. I am sure this would save money in the long run, and make staff grades more easily identifiable across all sectors.

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  • Anonymous | 29-Apr-2014 4:11 pm

    much more sensible idea. who knows and who cares who the scruffy bunch above are. they look more like cleaners or kitchen staff than professionals.

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  • Whilst not suggesting we go back to J-cloths themselves, we, yet again in nursing/healthcare, seem to be reinventing the wheel. When I started out as an auxiliary there was a de facto national uniform, then trust came in and trusts wanted their own identity. Now we're back full circle.
    (& yes, we were behind Wales, but Scotland has a national uniform too)

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