Guidance on uniform and workwear policies for NHS employers

In 2007 the Department of Health published an evidence base to support the specific requirements of the Health and Social Care Act 2008 Code of Practice relating to uniform and workwear policies, and the need to ensure that they support effective hand hygiene. This was updated in 2010 to include key equality and diversity measures to accommodate faith groups.

The guidance has been archived on the Government website and NHS employers and employees have reported to us their difficulties in accessing the guidance and implementing the guidance with their local commissioners.

The revised Guidance, published by NHS England and NHS Improvement is a joint initiative by key stakeholders, led by NHS Employers, including such as the British Medical Association (BMA), University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust – UCLA, to ensure that the guidance is more accessible to NHS employers and NHS employees.

The revisions to the Guidance are as follows:

  • Minor policy and legal updates to sections 1, 2, 3
  • The outline for Headwear, builds on the Dress Codes and Uniform policy developed and implemented by University College London Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (UCLH), May
  • Appendix C in relation to legal updates post 2010 guidance
  • Updates from infection control colleagues to ensure this is consistent in terms of washing and cleaning and with any current guidance issued for the duration of COVID-19.

The content for the main document is similar to the Department of Health document published in 2010.

The guidance is also accompanied by a range of resources, good practice examples, blogs and infographics which you can find on the NHS Employers website, to help employers develop policies which guide and inform staff on appropriate dress codes, which respect the needs of faith groups, while maintaining safe infection control standards.