Scottish Docs Give Up Their White Coats

Dress code forbids iconic garment in effort to cut down infection
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 16, 2008 12:33 PM CST
Doctors in Scotland are saying goodbye to their iconic whites.   (Shutterstock)
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(Newser) – In a move intended to combat the spread of infections, Scotland will forbid doctors to wear the long white coats that have been a symbol of the medical profession for more than a century, the Guardian reports. The country will institute a dress code next year that bans not only the coats—whose cuffs can become contaminated—but also ties and watches. Doctors won’t even be allowed to keep pens in outside pockets.

While some doctors say the coats are bulky and unnecessary, others argue reduced laundry budgets, not the coats, are at fault. In addition to driving down risk, the new dress code will be a cost-cutting measure: All non-doctors will wear a single short-sleeve uniform, as opposed to the 150 different uniforms the national health service currently stocks.