NHS nurses could be pulled up for wearing the wrong socks

Conquest Hospital, Hastings. SUS-150615-132822001
Conquest Hospital, Hastings. SUS-150615-132822001

Nurses working within the East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust have been told they could face disciplinary action - because of the colour of their socks.

The Trust’s uniform policy states that if socks are being worn with a tunic and trousers, they must be plain and muted in colour.

However, nurses working at the Eastbourne DGH and Conquest Hospital in Hastings are being told if they are found to not be wearing matching black socks during random uniform spot checks, they could be given a written warning.

One nurse, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “Ward seniors are telling nurses that the NHS are going to start spot checks on the colour of staff’s socks within the Conquest and DGH. If they are not plain black on these random checks, staff could face written warnings.

“We do often get uniform checks, such as no facial piercings, stud earrings not hoops, hair off the collar, black shoes, rings have no stones - only one plain wedding band, no necklaces, bare arms below the elbows, but we understand these things are on show and some of them are within infection control precautions to protect our patients, ourselves and our family. But socks? Really?

“Coloured socks don’t affect how efficient we work. Most of us wear trousers that mean you can’t even see the socks - has there actually been any complaints from patients or relatives about our socks if they are visible?

“What happens if we refuse to lift up our trouser leg? They’ll be asking to check the colour of our underwear next.

“We’re not stupid - we won’t come into work wearing a dress with bright coloured socks pulled up to our knees. When we wear dresses, we wear tights and look professional and approachable to those who come first - our patients.”

Alice Webster, Director of Nursing, said: “It is not trust policy to discipline staff for the colour of their socks.

“The Trust has a uniform policy to ensure staff dress at work demonstrates a smart and professional image which will inspire confidence for patients and relatives.

“Compliance with the uniform policy helps to minimise the risk of cross infection and risk of injury to patients. The only reference to socks in the policy is that when wearing a tunic and trousers socks should be a plain muted colour.

“No member of staff has been disciplined for the colour of their socks.”

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