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Health workers not social distancing outside of work?

(60 Posts)
WorriedMummy2020 Wed 30-Sep-20 13:31:43

I'm curious because I am seeing quite a lot of people I know to be health workers (nurses mainly) whether at the school gates every day or at the kids' activities that are still happening who are not social distancing at all. I know they're health workers but the ones not distancing while wearing scrubs are obvious to anyone. Friends and acquaintances stood right next to each other with no distancing at all, chatting, laughing like normal, no masks worn, for a good few minutes at least. They don't work on the same ward or unit btw.

Has anyone else experienced this? I find it very bizarre and quite irresponsible. Should they not be setting a good example? Equally, I see doctors wearing face masks on the school run, so it's by no means all health workers. But, even so....

OP’s posts: |
Maryann1975 Wed 30-Sep-20 14:28:11

I think it’s the same as any job. They can hold a really responsible job, but that doesn’t mean they are responsible in their personal lives. I know a nurse exactly as you describe, been holding big parties in her garden and meeting up with whoever she likes and not social distancing (and putting it all over fb), but I know other nurses and health care workers who are being so vigilant and following the rules implicitly.

IrmaFayLear Wed 30-Sep-20 14:35:00

I suppose there are a lot of health workers and as many views on what constitutes risk.

In DD’s class at primary school there was the dc of a woman who was the head nurse in intensive care at local hospital. Her dcs were always ill with stomach bugs, runny noses and had nits, dirty uniforms etc. I particularly noticed because of her job, and crossed my fingers that I didn’t end up in her icu !

lljkk Wed 30-Sep-20 14:44:51

You're unhappy about ppl chatting outside for 2 minutes at school gate? So much knowledge about where other ppl are working this week, too.

PurpleDaisies Wed 30-Sep-20 14:46:07

You know the risk outdoors is miniscule?

LethargicLumpOfLockdownLard Wed 30-Sep-20 14:50:49

Yep, that's me. I even had to do the school run in scrubs yesterday as I got back late from flu clinic. Walked home with a friend, while DD and friend's daughter walked behind us. No social distancing at all. We even discussed it and decided neither of us cares. We're in a low transmission area and neither of us have vulnerable people to worry about, but mostly we're just over it all now.

We don't socially distance at work either. Occasionally we remember and step back a bit, but mostly everyone just forgets, though we are usually wearing masks and of course lots of handwashing.

I do, however, observe the 2m rule strictly when shopping, out and about etc. For the sake of others, I don't want to make people feel unsafe or uncomfortable.

Heatherjayne1972 Wed 30-Sep-20 14:54:17

I know what you mean op
In my job there's always been a disciplinary action if you wear clinical scrubs outside the building for any reason at all - it’s very not allowed ( dire emergencies excepted) Staff aren’t allowed to smoke on the premises or even in the car park - not that we have time
Smelling of cigarettes is a massive no no

Since we Work with vulnerable patients it should mean we are more careful in and out of work
I guess not everyone agrees

So when I went to the hospital and the staff are outside smoking and not social distancing in clinical scrubs i was not impressed

Disconnect Wed 30-Sep-20 14:59:58

I am more annoyed that these nurses have to bring their scrubs home to wash them themselves instead of having them hygienically cleaned by the hospital.
Scrubs and uniforms should stay at the hospital if infection control were to be prioritised.
Budget cuts means scrubs and hygienic laundry are the first things to go and never re-introduced.

rainysun Wed 30-Sep-20 15:04:45

Seriously have you nothing better to moan about!

I have worked all through Covid, highly pressured times and juggled home schooling two children and you moan about this!

I wear my uniform to drop my children at school before rushing to work, there is no breakfast club or after school club thanks to Covid and I am trying my best, so go on judge me for wearing my uniform and chatting to friends!

I have had no time off and enjoy the few minutes of a morning to chat to others yet now know I'm being judged.

I'd like to know what you've contributed to society in the last 7 months!

WorriedMummy2020 Wed 30-Sep-20 15:05:27

If the risk is so small outdoors, why so many mitigating measures in place eg one way system on the school site, why is the road closed to allow parents and carers to distance properly, why have kids extra curricular activities held outdoors been cancelled, why is the official Government advice to keep 2m from anyone not in your household even outdoors? Why should any of us bother?

We're in a local lockdown area if that makes any difference. And a neighbouring county currently has a massive Covid outbreak within a hospital. I can't help thinking that if we all behaved like this our rates would be even higher than they are.

OP’s posts: |
SallySeven Wed 30-Sep-20 15:11:48

The risk is lower outside and any potentially lingering aerosols are dispersed.

However chatting back and forth at one another is still a risk. And 2m is an arbitrary distance for reducing droplet transmission.

DamnShesaSexyChick Wed 30-Sep-20 15:14:03

As a nurse it really irritates me when members of the public, who may not even have a job, think that they own nurses and we need to be accountable to them for our behaviour, we are just normal men and women doing our best in a difficult situation.

SallySeven Wed 30-Sep-20 15:14:17

It is bad that uniforms are no longer cleaned in hospital.

I find UK hospitals in my recent experience to be lax and dirty. I dread family going in and it that's not just because they are ill on arrival. The expectation is they will catch something inside.

WorriedMummy2020 Wed 30-Sep-20 15:14:57

Disconnect I completely agree with you on that.

rainysun thank you for your contribution as a health worker but why do you think the rules don't apply to you? I barely see friends or family these days either and certainly will see them even less now that we're back in local lockdown due to rising infections rates locally. I work too and have kids and DH and I get little help from family in normal times due to geographical distance and ageing / frailty and now I'll lockdown it has been zero. But back to my main point and I stand by it (no pun intended!) which is that we all need to follow the public health advice distance whether indoors or outdoors. And I would expect those working flat out in an over stretched NHS to be setting an example in that regard.

OP’s posts: |
GreatBigBeautifulTommorow Wed 30-Sep-20 15:15:21

We are not allowed to wear uniform/scrubs to or from work....infection control issue and looks bad.

People who ignore the rules make us all look as bad as them sad

Toddlerteaplease Wed 30-Sep-20 15:18:23

I'm a nurse and we can't social
Distance at work. So to be honest I forget when I'm out. Although We absolutely abide by the rules about masks and sanitising etc we really aren't bothered about it.

Disconnect Wed 30-Sep-20 15:18:31


We are not allowed to wear uniform/scrubs to or from work....infection control issue and looks bad.

People who ignore the rules make us all look as bad as them sad

You are lucky you work for a good hospital!
My relative's hospital make him wear a uniform - and he has to wash it himself. And he is circulating around the hospital looking after potential Covid-19 patients.
He was allowed scrubs during the height of the pandemic (sometimes made out of duvet covers by the kind public!) and these were washed by the hospital.
But the hospital stopped that as soon as they could and now he is back in home-washed uniform, even though now his hospital has quite a few Covid-19 patients.

Toddlerteaplease Wed 30-Sep-20 15:19:30

We now have to go to work in our own clothes though. Which I really hate.

Disconnect Wed 30-Sep-20 15:21:55

yes, it was bad enough when the infection coming inside HCP's homes on uniforms was norovirus, adenovirus etc. Now it could be SARS-CoV-2 and the government has not provided any additional funding for scrubs and industrial laundry - or not that the hospital have provided any of this at least

Disconnect Wed 30-Sep-20 15:22:50

And of course the infection goes the other way too - from healthcare professional's homes into hospital. Very short-sighted. Give them scrubs and use industrial laundry - for all staff in hospital.

Haenow Wed 30-Sep-20 15:26:17


As a nurse it really irritates me when members of the public, who may not even have a job, think that they own nurses and we need to be accountable to them for our behaviour, we are just normal men and women doing our best in a difficult situation.

I agree with the sentiment of your post but, by wearing your uniform in public, you are inadvertently identifying yourself as a particular worker.
Ideally, you shouldn’t be wearing it in public anyway which stops the comments and judgements.

MountainDweller Wed 30-Sep-20 15:29:45

I was chatting with my osteopath about this yesterday. I hadn't really thought about it and don't have kids so no school gate situations for me. I was happy to hear that she is very careful to keep her distance from people outside work - she says she owes it to her patients to act responsibly. It also has an impact on her as if she is in contact with someone who has a confirmed case of Covid she will have to quarantine for 14 days, during which she'll lose her earnings as she works for herself. I'm not a HCP but in fact am being equally careful.

However there must be situations when HCPs cannot social distance and cannot avoid some risk - presumably many use public transport to get to work and masks can't be 100% effective.

OpheliasCrayon Wed 30-Sep-20 15:45:34

Why don't you do you and leave others be without judging?

Disconnect Wed 30-Sep-20 15:46:23

Ideally, you shouldn’t be wearing it in public anyway which stops the comments and judgements This is true, guidelines/rules for nurses are that they must not wear their uniform outside work, but unfortunately hospitals often don't provide adequate changing facilities.
And care workers in care homes who are not bound by RCN don't have these rules anyway.
Doctors wearing the same dirty suit and tie to and from work, shops etc won't be as visible as nurses in uniform.

StarCat2020 Wed 30-Sep-20 15:50:42

members of the public, who may not even have a job
Right now not having a job is awful especially as whole sectors of industry may be gone for the foreseeable future.

I get that you have worked hard but it doesn't give you the right to judge those who are not working through no fault of their own

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