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Nurses to have national uniform

Nurses in Wales are to be issued with a national uniform which will make it easier for patients to identify them, and which will also reduce the risk of spreading hospital infections.

The National Health Service (NHS) said that each staff grade would have a unique standard design after pointing out that there is no consistent approach to design, colour or the number of uniforms issued at present.

Patients find it difficult to distinguish who is in charge on hospital wards, according to a report which will be launched by Welsh health minister Edwina Hart later this week. The similarity with uniforms worn by shop and hospitality workers mean patients and relatives do not know who to ask when they have a problem.

The uniform, which is also intended to stop the spread of infection, could be ready by the end of 2010, and nurses would no longer have to launder their uniforms at home after the report identified household laundry temperatures of 30 or 40 degrees as being well short of infection control standards.

NHS laundries could cope with the extra load of washing because they are running “well below capacity”, the report said, and hospitals would be required to keep stockpiles of the scrubs available at all times.

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