NHS supply chain has confirmed that it is no longer considering plans for a single colour AHP uniform in England, after CSP and other professional AHP bodies joined forces to raise their members concerns and lobby against the proposals.
The CSP raised its concerns about the National Uniform Project, along with eleven other professional bodies, who collectively form the Allied Health Professions Federation (AHPF).
The AHPF board recently wrote to NHS Supply Chain, to point out that the project had failed to consult ‘the wider AHP community on the choice of a single-colour uniform’ and to provide data that demonstrated high levels of ‘dissatisfaction with this option’ among the members of CSP and other AHP bodies.
In 2021/22 the CSP carried out two national surveys, involving almost 6000 members, to gain an insight into how physiotherapy staff felt about proposed changes to NHS uniforms in England.
The results demonstrated that, on average, 75 per cent of respondents were opposed to a single colour AHP uniform.
CSP head of practice improvement Helen Sharma said: ‘Over the last two years, we have been calling for NHS England and NHS Supply Chain to consult with the AHP community, including our members, about uniform changes - because this would affect their professional identity, patient care and everyday duties.
There was a phenomenal member response to the CSP surveys, and those led by other professional bodies, which enabled us to present a united view to NHS England and secure this agreement
‘We will now be working with NHS England and NHS Supply Chain who have re-committed to working closely with the AHP community to work towards a solution which meets the needs of staff and patients.’
Workshops to help find a viable solution
In their response letter to CSP and the other AHPF organisations, NHS Supply Chain said:
‘It is clear and accepted that the professional bodies and their members have concerns with the approach we have taken in terms of adoption of a single uniform colour for all Allied Health Professions, and that the need to maintain professional image and identity is felt very strongly…
Having reviewed the recent feedback and understood the depth of feeling, we can confirm that a single colourway option for AHPs will not form a part of the specification for this process
‘The commitment is to continue to work together to find the viable solution that is acceptable to key stakeholders for the Allied Health Professions.
‘If acceptable, we propose undertaking a series of workshops, starting in June 2022, where we can consider all of the various options, and the implications each of those have in terms of their impact on patients, the professional image, equality and diversity, sustainability, and cost.’
They added that they recognised ‘the importance of getting the uniform design and materials absolutely right’ and fit for purpose, and that their new objective would be to reach an agreed design and colour scheme for new uniforms by the end of November 2022.
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