A national NHS uniform will see nurses wear “hospital blue” and pharmacists “bottle green”.
Twenty-seven different colored medical gowns will be deployed in England to represent different roles, including midwives, midwives and students.
Officials hope standardized uniforms will allow patients and visitors to easily identify staff in “overwhelming” hospital environments.
Bosses also think taxpayers could save millions if all hospital trusts signed up to the voluntary scheme to offer everything through a single provider. Currently, each trust can have its own style and color.
Physiotherapists, dieticians, podiatrists and osteopaths will be among the 600,000 employees who will receive their own exclusive scrubs.
Twenty-seven different colored medical gowns will be deployed in England to represent different roles, including midwives, midwives and students. Officials hope standardized uniforms will allow patients and visitors to easily identify staff in “overwhelming” hospital environments.
However, doctors and surgeons are not covered.
Healthcare workers in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have had standardized uniforms for several years, making England the outlier.
Across the country, staff wear different colors, styles, textiles and brands.
Estimates suggest it costs the health service around £23 million a year.
Instead, the standardized approach to uniforms will save almost £7 million, or 30 per cent of current spending, says NHS Supply Chain.
Among the colors chosen are ‘cloud blue with contrasting navy trim’ for students, ‘lilac with contrasting navy trim’ for healthcare assistants or support workers and ‘Sherwood green with contrasting navy trim’ for pharmacy technicians.
Physiotherapists are expected to wear a white uniform with navy blue trim, while podiatrists can expect “ruby” medical gowns with a “royal blue contrast trim.”
Meanwhile, dieticians will wear a ruby uniform with a “hospital blue contrast trim” and diagnostic radiologists will wear ruby with an “eau de nil contrast trim.”
The chosen base colors and contrast trims for the smart scrub top “will clearly denote each professional group”, NHS Supply Chain said.
The exact design of the uniform will be revealed later this fall, but the results of initial consultations suggest a The two-piece ‘smart surgical gown’ will be the final design.
Information released by the organization also suggests that the scrubs and dress will have two waist pockets and one chest pocket, while the pants and shorts will have two cargo-style pockets.
The health service has also abandoned traditional sizing for a non-gender specific system, using sizes U1, U2, U3, for example.
The organization said the decision was made to “empower all people to choose uniforms that reflect their identities.”
The “inclusive strategy” also “strengthens our workforce and resonates throughout the communities we serve,” he said.
In a statement announcing the 27 colours, NHS Supply Chain said: “The carefully selected color combinations have been chosen for their ability to resonate nationally and create a coherent and recognizable system across the NHS.
“The chosen base colors and contrasting trims for the smart medical countertop will clearly denote each professional group.”
Kevin Chidlow, NHS supply chain uniform procurement lead, said: “I would like to thank everyone who has engaged with us for their enthusiasm and patience.
“Together we are building a shared identity that we can all be proud of.”
The organization selected a supplier to make the garments in early January of this year and expects the gowns to be available to healthcare professionals starting in early 2024.
But the implementation of the uniform will not be mandatory and rather will be a matter of local policy, NHS Supply Chain confirmed in 2021, after health professional bodies including the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy said a uniform could affect relationships or patient safety.
They warned that scrubs can compromise the therapeutic relationship in community or pediatric settings.
NHS Scotland and NHS Wales introduced a nationally standardized uniform in 2010 and NHS Northern Ireland followed in 2011.