18 December 2008 | Louise Hunt
NHS Scotland is expected to make significant cost savings next year when it introduces a new national uniform for clinical staff.
Nicola Sturgeon, the Scottish health secretary, announced the policy this week and said a single uniform will enable the procurement of better quality garments and promote a consistent image across the Scottish health service.
Currently, each health board has its own uniform policy, with more than 150 types of uniform and over 250 colours from a range of suppliers.
A Scottish government spokesperson said: "Having a single standardised NHS Scotland uniform will be much more cost effective for the service. One national procurement exercise, with contracts to cover the whole of the NHS rather than individual local health boards, will deliver real economies of scale and real value for money for the NHS in Scotland."
NHS National Services Scotland is managing the procurement process and the new uniforms will be phased in from autumn 2009.
All clinical staff who currently wear uniforms, including nurses and allied health professionals, will wear tunics in one of four shades of blue to denote their rank, with navy trousers.
Norman Provan, associate director of employment relations at the Royal College of Nursing Scotland, said a national uniform would be better for clinicians.
"Changing to a single, national uniform will free up significant funds, giving NHS Scotland the opportunity to invest in uniforms which are fully fit for purpose. The fabric of the new uniform will not only be more comfortable for staff but will also help combat healthcare-associated infections such as MRSA and C. difficile."