Community NHS Workers - do you get coats provided?

(33 Posts)
IwishIwasmoreorganised Fri 09-Nov-12 22:38:50

I have been working in the community for 5 months now. Base is at a hospital, but all patients are in their own homes.

The weather is now getting colder. It's not got above 8 degrees here all week.

Do you get coats provided? I and the rest of our team think that we should do, and that it should be covered as part of the health and safety assessment of community workers but at the moment our boss has said that we will not be getting them. We are trying to get hold of a full copy of the health and safety policy at the moment (our office only has a very old version).

Apart from the health and safety issue (surely coats are personal protective equipment for community staff?), the NHS dress code states that all staff uniform should,"provide a professional image to promote public confidence". I'm not sure that me turning up in my own choice of coat does this.

I'm interested to hear other people's experiences please.

TwistedFireStarter Fri 09-Nov-12 22:39:47

No, and I've never heard of this?

TeamEdward Fri 09-Nov-12 22:41:37

Should teachers be provided with school coats for when they do playground duty?

msrisotto Fri 09-Nov-12 22:42:17

Err no, wtf?
Unless you're a nurse who wears a uniform but no, community workers wear their own clothes.

PrincessOfChina Fri 09-Nov-12 22:45:27

I don't work for the NHS. Our company has a dress code which is essentially the same as yours and I am required to buy all my own clothes. I provide clothes which are professional and look good on me. Perhaps you could get a coat like this? There are lots around.

The only exception has been when we had uniforms while working at the Olympics this summer, but I saw that as a perk to be honest!

jellymaker Fri 09-Nov-12 22:46:09

No. I have been in community for 15 years across 7 trusts. Never heard of it. The least recognisable you are the better. We are debating getting rid of our uniforms and hiding badges till at the door as we have been regularly approached by groups looking for medications.

IwishIwasmoreorganised Fri 09-Nov-12 22:47:27

Do you work in the NHS Twisted?

Some teams in our area have been provided with coats in the past. Our team is quite new and expanding rapidly and this issue hasn't been addressed at the moment.

TeamEdward in theory yes if our reasoning follows through (PPE). Do teachers get any allowance or tax relief for buying clothes for work? (I have no idea btw but I know that NHS staff can claim tax relief if they launder their own uniform). If so then I guess that can be put towards outdoor clothing for playground duty.

TheDetective Fri 09-Nov-12 22:50:17

Our staff did get them - midwives in community. Apparently not so easy to get one now confused

IwishIwasmoreorganised Fri 09-Nov-12 22:50:33

msrisotto. I'm not a nurse, but am a therapist and we do have to wear a uniform.

jellymaker that's interesting. One staff group in our team wore their own clothes until a couple of months ago for the reasons that you state but in the summer were made to start wearing uniform (trousers and tunic) again.

BackforGood Fri 09-Nov-12 22:51:05

Not NHS, but Local Authority who also spends time moving from one place to another. No, we don't get anything like that provided, and nor would I expect to! Indeed, in this day and age I'd be quite cross if money were being spent on coats for people to travel between appointments. I'm sure we could all come up with a list of better things to spend the money on.

BackforGood Fri 09-Nov-12 22:52:02

No, teachers don't get any allowance for their clothes !

IwishIwasmoreorganised Fri 09-Nov-12 22:52:28

So not a completely mad idea then TheDetective?!

As far as I can see, a coat is required for us to do our jobs properly and safely at this time of year so it's not completely farcical to think that they should be provided.

BackforGood Fri 09-Nov-12 22:58:07

Why though ?
You aren't working outside in a way that would ruin normal clothes (say laying tarmac)
You aren't going into conditions as part of your job that are different from the temperatures / conditions when you travel to and from work (say someone who worked in an industrial freezer environment)

Why on earth do you think the public purse should provide you with another coat to wear to travel between patients, when you will have a coat already for travelling to and from work / living your life generally ? confused

TheDetective Fri 09-Nov-12 23:01:13

We were told we looked unprofessional in our own coats - to be fair, my winter coat was bright purple last year - so maybe did look unprofessional grin.

It is to do with maintaining a certain image apparently.

marriedinwhite Fri 09-Nov-12 23:03:00

You need a coat to keep warm when you go out and when you are not at work. That is the coat you wear to work as well because it serves the same purpose as when you are not at work.

In fact I have several coats/jackets - I wear them to work and outside of work. I pay for all of them myself. I don't expect my employer to buy me a coat so I can keep warm when I travel to work.

It is common sense. Did you say you were a therapist? That might explain a great deal. Do you think perhaps it is time for you to enter the real world.

On one level I would be happy for all NHS community and non community workers to be back in uniform with hair kept neat and tidy. Then they would look professional and be recognisable. In those circumstances perhaps a regulation coat would be acceptable but I guess they wouldn't want to wear it outside work and would have to spend their own little pennies on a separate coat.

TeaBrick Fri 09-Nov-12 23:11:58

I used to work as an auxiliary with district nurses, and we all got coats provided smile

TheDetective Fri 09-Nov-12 23:17:17

Married She is not asking about travelling to and from home, but to and from patients houses - so in direct public contact.

IwishIwasmoreorganised Fri 09-Nov-12 23:20:57

Thanks for the replies.

I can see why many of you feel that we have a coats of our own and therefore that our employer should not provide them, but I also have trousers and tops of my own that I am not allowed to wear to work - I have to wear what is provided to provide a professional identity and for infection control purposes. Why does this not apply to coats as well? We take and fit equipment out to our patients, and we also sometimes work outdoors with them (ie not just inside their home) if that is part of their rehabilitation. Why should we not be provided with coats /PPE to allow us to do these tasks without potentially damaging or infecting our own coats?

marriedinwhite, could you please elaborate on some of your comments a little? I am not suggesting that I should be provided with a coat to keep me warm on my way to and from work, I am suggesting that we should have coats provided for going about out work during the course of the day. As a therapist, why do you think that I am not in the real world at the moment? I find that comment in particular very insulting.

aladdinsane Fri 09-Nov-12 23:21:29

I'm a community therapist
We get a fleece and a very thin Mac. Both are in my professions colours

TeaBrick Fri 09-Nov-12 23:23:38

Presumably marriedinwhite's comments about "their own little pennies" were calculated to be insulting. Ignore!

marriedinwhite Fri 09-Nov-12 23:36:52

In my daily life; in the supermarket; on the tube; in the street; at church; at work; I deal with the general public all the time - I don't need a special coat for it.

When I have had to deal with community nurses, midwives, health visitors, etc., they all wear their own clothes nowadays. Personally I would prefer them to be in uniform because that ensures they are professionally and appropriately dressed. If you actually wear a uniform then I do think you should be provided with a regulation coat.

I am sorry but I found your original post rather entitled and I thought genuinely that you were taking the mick and I replied in the vein I felt it deserved. You seemed to infer that it was your employer's responsibility to ensure you were warm in winter and that you should not have to provide your own coat in cold weather but rather be cold and that seemed somewhat lacking in common sense.

The majority of professional people in the UK actually have to buy their own work clothes and often a professional dress code is required and this seems sadly lacking in the NHS when nursing staff are allowed to wear their own clothes.

TwistedFireStarter Sat 10-Nov-12 07:31:59

I do indeed work in the NHS!

TwistedFireStarter Sat 10-Nov-12 07:33:03

I guess I don't wear a uniform though so the idea of having a special coat I would hate rebel.

iliketea Sat 10-Nov-12 08:01:23

Community nurse - I have a fleece and cagoul in navy, which employer provided. But I was lucky as they have now stopped that and new starters now just get uniforms, no cardigans or.coat.

The only problem.is that they local guidelines.specify what coat / cardigans should be worn but as these are not provided, so people then are meant to try to find and buy specific items for work. It took me ages to find a plain navy cardigan, and.most things you buy in the.shops cannot be washed at.a.high enough temperature to get rid of bacteria.

The problem is that it's now harder to enforce uniform policy as.people can claim they can't afford to buy a new.cardigan or.coat thats suitable.for work - and I can't argue against that really.

IwishIwasmoreorganised Sat 10-Nov-12 09:36:19

I think now due to budget cuts, things like this have been stopped which is a great shame.

Firstly, it affects our professional image and how we are perceived by the public and secondly it means that we risk taking infections home which could be passed onto our families.

I appreciate that there is a finite amount of money, but having witnessed fist hand the many inefficiencies that exist within the NHS I find it very frustrating.

marriedinwhite. I'm still interested to hear why you feel that I may am not in the the real world.

JakeBullet Sat 10-Nov-12 09:38:49

Have worked as a community midwife for nigh on 20 years and never had a coat provided. As a student nurse though (in 1985) I did get issued with a fab nurses cape which I was sad,to give back.

ggirl Sat 10-Nov-12 09:46:31

I ama community nurse , we are not provided with coats but I know in the past they were. Lots of the nurses,OTs and Physios have fleeces that were provided in the recent past but it's no longer supplied.
I wear my own navy coat but don't have a cardigan.

I would rather have some knee pads supplied.

JakeBullet Sat 10-Nov-12 09:48:05

Just curious marriedinwhite, what clothing would you like to see on NHS staff? I always wore a uniform until about 2001 when the trend became to wear own clothes. The thinking behind this being that it made things easier for clients...that we'd look less intimidating etc.
Have to say I always wore trousers and comfy shoes to ensure I could work practically eg get on the floor with a woman in labour etc. I found this much more practical than a nurses uniform. I didn't get a clothing budget though so used to have work clothes that I didn't wear anywhere else. When you take into account the cost of laundering (and sometimes this would be laundering bloodstained clothing despite the oh so classy plastic aprons) it does have cost implications although for me it was part of what I signed up for.
I don't work at the moment as I am a full time Carer but if I went back then I would anticipate doing the same thing regarding clothes.

Popumpkin Sat 10-Nov-12 09:50:45

I am a Community Healthcare worker. No, I get a fetching blue uniform top/tunic and supply my own black trousers, black shoes & coat. Why do you need a special coat for work? Don't you take it off as soon as you get inside the house?

marriedinwhite Sat 10-Nov-12 09:54:27

I had my first baby in 1994 (late 94) and own clothes had just been introduced for the midwifery staff. I saw midwives in jeans, deck shoes, T shirsts, very short skirts and one in full African dress and generally felt they were not presenting themselves professionally and I didn't feel comfortable with it. Practical trousers I wouldn't mind at all.

I had my last baby at a different hospital where the midwives wore uniform and I felt much more at ease. They were also less "right on" and were generally far more confidence inspiring and comforting.

JakeBullet Sat 10-Nov-12 09:59:40

Yeah, jeans etc is pushing it. I wore smartiah but practical trousers. The last hospital I worked in did away with the nurses dress and all midwives wore trousers and tops. Black shoes were regulation too, this was regulation in the community too.

IwishIwasmoreorganised Sat 10-Nov-12 10:15:15

Popumpkin See my post earlier, we are not always working with patients in their own homes, for example if somebody's goal is to regain their outdoor mobility, manage the steps to access their property or be able to transfer into their car then we often do work outdoors.

IwishIwasmoreorganised Sat 10-Nov-12 10:15:46

Excuse the rogue apostrophe

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