Skip to Content Skip to navigation
HR Policy
To Be Categorised
Director of Nursing, Corporate
HR Policy Group
Medical Director, NHS Fife / Executive Director of Nursing , NHS Fife
01 September 2017
03 May 2024
03 May 2027

General Note 

NHS Fife acknowledges and agrees with the importance of regular and timely review of policy statements and aims to review policies within the timescales set out. 

New policies will be subject to a review date of no more than 1 year from the date of first issue. 

Reviewed policies will have a review date set that is relevant to the content (advised by the author) but will be no longer than 3 years. 

If a policy is past its review date, then the content will remain extant until either such time as the policy review is complete and the new version published, or there are national policy or legislative changes. 


1.1 An important aspect of providing health care is the confidence of the service users in our ability to deliver exemplar services in a professional manner. It is recognised that the appearance and standards of dress adopted by staff are an influencing factor on this confidence.  

1.2 The aim of the ‘Staff Dress Code and Uniform Policy’ is to provide a unified approach across NHS Fife which conveys a professional image and creates and maintains public confidence. 

1.3 Uniform and dress also forms an integral part of risk controls for health and safety purposes; moving & handling; infection control; controls for violence and aggression.  

1.4 This Policy reflects guidance provided by NHSScotland: DL (2018) 4 National Uniform Policy, Dress Code and Laundering Policy  


2.1 This policy applies to all staff within all the component parts of NHS Fife. 


3.1 This policy applies to all staff employed by NHS Fife It also applies to workers i.e. bank, agency and sessional workers. It is recognised that in integrated services there may be different staff uniform and dress policies and managers will need to ensure these are appropriately applied. 

3.2 This policy addresses common issues in relation to dress code and uniforms, but it is not possible to detail every eventuality. Managers and staff should be guided by the principles outlined in this policy. Staff with particular circumstances or needs should discuss these with their line manager. In the event of a disagreement, the matter will be referred to the appropriate Senior Manager for resolution. 

3.3 NHS Fife Staff:  

All staff are responsible for following the guidelines as set out in this document. Where staff are unable to follow the guidelines, they must report this to their line manager and work together to find a solution. 

NHS Fife Managers:  

Local managers are responsible for ensuring that all staff have access to this document and for ensuring that staff follow the guidelines. Adherence to the policy is mandatory. Failure to adhere to the policy will be dealt with in accordance with the appropriate NHS Scotland Workforce policies. 

3.4 NHS Fife understands its roles and responsibilities in valuing and supporting the rich diversity of its staff. This policy is underpinned by NHS Fife’s legal responsibilities as outlined in the Equality Act (2010) and supports protection against discrimination for staff with legally protected characteristics. To this end, the policy will endeavour to approach any issues relating to age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion and belief, sex, and sexual orientation, with sensitivity. However, priority will be given to health and safety, security and infection prevention and control considerations. 


Staff must adhere to the following statements: 

4.1 Corporate Identity; Staff and Public Perception 

4.1.1 All staff who wear a uniform are required to wear the NHS Scotland national uniform. (See Appendix 1 for detail).  

4.1.2 Staff working within NHS Fife, who do not wear a formal uniform, are 

expected to dress smartly and appropriately. Items of clothing should not be worn which would reasonably be revealing, offensive or provocative to service users, carers, colleagues, or members of the public.  

4.1.3 Implementation of this policy is necessary to ensure that issues of professionalism, infection control, health and safety and public confidence are addressed. It therefore applies to all staff whether or not they wear a uniform.  

4.1.4 All staff working within hospitals and other health buildings must carry visible identification at all times during working hours. All staff working in the community must carry identification at all times during working hours. 

4.1.5 Identification badges must be secured away from the patient when providing direct patient care. For staff working in clinical areas, badges must be clipped on, rather than on lanyards. 

4.1.6 Identification badges must be kept clean, with all detail legible.  

4.2 Issue of Uniform

4.2.1 Uniforms will be fitted and issued by an NHS Fife Hospital Sewing Room.  

Sewing Rooms are located in: 

  • St Andrews Community Hospital 
  • Stratheden Hospital 
  • Cameron Hospital 
  • Victoria Hospital 
  • Queen Margaret Hospital 

4.3 Travelling in Uniform 

4.3.1 Where changing facilities are available, staff must change into and out of uniform at work. Where there is no changing facility, uniforms should be covered where possible / practical when travelling to and from work and staff must change out of their uniform at the earliest opportunity. 

4.3.2 All staff must not undertake activities in public, such as shopping, whilst wearing their uniform, except where such activities form an integral part of their duties.  

4.3.3 Requests to wear uniform out with the organisation for formal occasions or where promoting the organisation must be authorised by the appropriate Head of Service. 

4.4 Laundering of Uniforms 

4.4.1 The risk of uniforms being contaminated with blood or body fluids is very dependent on the tasks performed by the healthcare worker. Such contamination carries an inherent risk (low) of transmission of disease. All uniforms that are visibly soiled with blood or body fluids must be sent to the Central Laundry for processing.  

4.4.2 The guidance in DL (2018) 4 for ‘Home Laundering of Uniforms’ is outlined in Appendix 2

4.5 Protective Clothing 

4.5.1 Personal Protective equipment (PPE) consists of items of clothing that are required to protect the wearer from a hazard. Refer to GP/P4 - NHS Fife Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Policy for further advice.  

4.6 Replacement of Uniforms 

4.6.1 Re-issue of uniforms is made following discussion with Manager / Head of Service and can be made based on: change of role; damage or loss;; medical reasons and pregnancy. 

4.6.2 Maternity uniforms are provided when required by speaking with your line  

manager. Any potential adjustments to uniform requirements in line with the Menopause and Menstrual Health Policy should be discussed with your line manager. 

4.6.3 Staff must ensure that all items, which are being replaced, are returned to an NHS Fife Hospital Sewing Room freshly laundered (see 4.2.1). 

4.7 Termination of Employment 

4.7.1 On termination of employment from the organisation, all items of uniform and ID badge must be returned to the employer. Failure to return is regarded as a serious breach of security. 

4.7.2 It is imperative that identity badges and uniforms are returned to line managers to prevent improper re-use. Identity badges are then returned to the Security Office and returned uniforms to the Sewing Room. 



5.1 The Equality Act 2010 states that it is unlawful to discriminate against individuals because of their religion, religious belief, or similar philosophical belief.  

5.2 The organisation welcomes the variety of appearance brought by individual styles and choices. The wearing of items arising from religious / cultural norms (e.g., sari, turban, hijab, kippah, and clerical collar) are seen as part of this welcome diversity. However, the health and safety of staff and service users must take precedence and risk assessments should be carried out where necessary.  

5.3 Specialist items required to meet religious (or medical) needs (i.e., headscarves) are available to order on the National Uniform contract. 


6.1 Line Managers are responsible for monitoring the Policy with risk assessments being carried where deemed appropriate. 



NHS Scotland National Uniform Specification 

The purpose of the uniform colour coding is to make it easier for patients, members of the public and other staff to distinguish between different clinical and non-clinical roles. Clinical staff will wear blue or burgundy and non-clinical staff will wear green. 

It must be noted however, that the colour coding is not the only means of communication and it is expected that verbal communication and staff identifiers will still play their part. 



Clinical Nursing / Midwifery Managers 

(Band 8A or above) 

  • Smoked Berry burgundy tunic / polo shirt* 
  • Navy blue trousers 

The uniform was developed in response to the Vale of Leven Report, to ensure visibility of senior nurse leadership to patients and the public. The uniform should be worn by Clinical Nursing Managers when they are in a clinical setting. 

Lead Nurses (Band 8A) 

Heads of Nursing / Midwifery 

Directors of Nursing / Midwifery 

Executive Director of Nursing 

Senior Charge Nurses (SCN) / Midwives 

  • Navy blue tunic / polo shirt 
  • Navy blue trousers 

The navy-blue uniform was developed to ensure the nurse in charge is clearly visible to patients and the public. For this purpose, the navy blue uniform will be worn by SCNs and H@N Practitioners in charge of the ward. Senior Midwives and CTLs should wear navy blue uniform where their duties are like a SCN in that it is important for them to be visible to patients and the public as being the nurse in charge in hospital wards, clinics and health centres.  

The use of the navy-blue tunic must not be extended to denote other specialist or senior nurses even if they are practising at the same or more senior level than the SCN. 

Community Team Leaders (CTL) 

H@N Practitioners in charge of the ward 



Registered Nurses, including Dental Nurses 

  • Cornflower blue tunic / polo shirt  
  • Navy blue trousers 

Allied Health Professionals 

  • Mediterranean blue tunic / polo shirt 
  • Navy blue trousers 

Allied Health Professionals will have their professional role embroidered on their tunic/polo shirt  

Healthcare Scientists 

Pharmacy Technicians 

Dental Care Professionals including Dental Hygienists 

Orthopaedic Practitioners (holders of BCC - British Casting Certificate)  

  • Ocean Blue tunic / polo shirt  
  • Navy blue trousers 

These staff groups will have their professional role embroidered on their tunic / polo 

ALL Unregistered Staff / Healthcare Support Workers and Trainees 

  • Pale sky blue tunic / polo shirt 
  • Navy trousers 

Support staff for Allied Health Professionals, Healthcare Scientists, and Pharmacy Technicians can have their department embroidered on their tunic / polo shirt or have the option to wear a non-embroidered tunic / polo shirt. 



Catering and Domestic Staff, including Non-Clinical Staff Trainees 

  • Mid-green tunic / polo shirt 
  • Navy blue trousers 

Catering and Domestic Supervisors 

  • Dark green tunic / polo shirt  
  • Navy blue trousers 


  • Mid-green Polo shirt / dress shirt / blouse  
  • Navy blue trousers 

Administration and Clerical Staff 

  • Plain coloured mid-green dress shirt / blouse 
  • Navy blue dress trousers 

Security Guards 

  • White shirt / blouse (available with or without epaulettes) and clip on tie with military style jumper or black t-shirt and stab vest depending on local policy  
  • Black trousers 

*Polo shirts: are available to order as an alternative to tunics. However, the general rule is that staff who currently wear a tunic will continue to do so. 

Staff can order shorts as part of their uniform especially in environments that are very warm or to meet the wellbeing of the individual. 

A range of outer garments, such as cardigans, fleeces and shower proof jackets are available.  

More lightweight and breathable uniforms are available for staff experiencing menstrual health and menopause related conditions.  The range of lightweight options within the Dimensions range include scrubs and tunics, no dresses are currently available.  The current uniform material is 170gsm (65%/35% Polyester Cotton Xtraflex) and the lightweight options are 145gsm, details below:  

  •        D397/8 (Unisex scrub top & bottom)145gsm Poly Cotton Mix
  •        NF26 (Female fit scrub top) 145gsm Poly Cotton Mix
  •        NF48 (Women’s classic style tunic) in 145gsm



This guidance does not apply to theatre scrub suits, any item of PPE, or contaminated uniforms, for which Hospital / facility laundries must be used.  

The following guidance on the home laundering of uniform is for all staff who are unable to access an NHSScotland laundry facility and consequently take uniform home to launder.  

Where a uniform has been worn in conjunction with appropriate PPE and is not visibly contaminated with blood or other body fluids, there is no evidence it poses any risk to healthcare workers or the public.  

The guidance applies to all uniform and workwear supplied by NHSScotland. 



  • Used uniform should be kept separate at all times from clean uniform.  
  • Ensure all items such as pens, coins, tissues are removed from pockets.  
  • Apply good hand hygiene practice utilising soap and warm water before handling clean uniform and after handling soiled uniform.  


  • All uniform should be laundered at the highest temperature suitable for the fabric as per the care label.  

Detergents and Additives 


  • Use a detergent that is suitable for your skin type.  
  • Do not add bleaches to the wash process or use for a ‘whitening’ effect. 


Tumble Drying/Ironing  

  • Uniform may be ironed or tumble dried as per the care label. 

Storage and Transportation  

  • Ensure laundered uniform is stored separately from used uniform.  
  • Ensure all storage and transportation facilities are clean and washed regularly.  




  • Must be clean, in good repair, and changed daily if staff are providing direct patient care. 
  • Must be of a good fit. 
  • Staff must use designated changing facilities, where available. 
  • Clean uniforms must be returned to the appropriate Sewing Room or Head of Service on termination of employment. 

Sleeves and Ties 

  • ‘Bare below the elbow’ is compulsory for staff when delivering clinical care / working in or visiting a clinical area. 
  • Ties should not be worn when delivering clinical care. 
  • Where for religious reasons, staff wish to cover their forearms during patient care activity; it is acceptable to wear disposable over-sleeves where gloves are used, with strict adherence to hand and wrist washing before and after use. Over-sleeves must be disposed of as disposable gloves.  
  • Where for religious reasons, staff wish to cover their upper forearms during patient care activity, it is acceptable to wear three-quarter length sleeves. Three-quarter length sleeves must not be loose or dangling. They must be able to be rolled or pulled back and kept securely in place during hand-washing and direct patient care activity. 


  • Hair should be neat and tidy at all times. 
  • Long hair should be tied back and off the collar. 
  • Hair accessories when worn should be discreet. 
  • Beards and moustaches must be clean and neat. 


  • Must be clean and in a good state of repair.  
  • Shoes must have enclosed toes and heels. 
  • Shoes should be black or navy however, it is acknowledged that many staff, in particular those involved with moving and handling of patients, prefer to wear trainers. If trainers are worn with a clinical uniform, they should be where possible black or navy, must be clean and of a non-pervious material.  
  • Plastic clog-like shoes with holes in the front e.g. crocs or similar, must not be worn. 
  • Staff, who do not wear formal uniform, should not wear excessively high heels (5cm or more). 


  • All staff involved in direct patient care / working in or visiting a clinical environment must be ‘bare below the elbow’
  • Wristwatches, fitbit wrist-straps and bracelets must not be worn in clinical areas.  
  • Fob watches may be worn. 
  • Jewellery is restricted to wearing one plain metal finger ring and plain stud earrings. 
  • Any visible body piercing should be plain studs whilst at work. 

Nails, Cosmetics, Perfume and Aftershave 

  • Keep fingernails short and clean. No nail varnish or false nails or extensions should be worn in clinical areas by all staff involved in direct patient care / working in or visiting a clinical environment. 
  • Cosmetics, perfume, and aftershave should be discreet. 


  • Inappropriate tattoos must be covered at all times. The Head of Service will be responsible for determining whether a tattoo is inappropriate or not, i.e., any tattoo with offensive language is deemed inappropriate.  

Theatre Attire 

  • Clinical staff working in the operating theatres MUST wear the conventional theatre attire provided, i.e. scrub, suit or dress 
  • Theatre attire stained with blood or body fluids must be changed as soon as possible, especially prior to leaving the department.  
  • Theatre attire MUST NOT be worn outside the hospital building.  
  • Theatre footwear must be fully enclosed at the front to provide toe protection, and grip at the heel. Open-toed shoes are not to be worn. Theatre staff are responsible for cleaning their own footwear. Footwear contaminated with blood and body fluids should be decontaminated as per the National Infection Prevention and Control Manual Appendix 9 ( 
  • Theatre footwear must not be worn outside theatres.  
  • Disposable caps or hoods must be worn within the operating theatres, and they must completely cover the hair. All caps / hoods must be removed on leaving the department.  
  • Disposable filtration masks (surgical masks) must be provided as required. Masks should not be handled except when being put on and taken off the face. Masks must be changed between procedures and when they become soiled. Masks must also be removed when leaving the operating theatre; they must not be left around the wearer’s neck. Hands must be washed after removal of surgical masks.  
  • Goggles or visors must be worn when it is appropriate. 
  • PPE used in theatre must not be worn outside the theatre environment